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Reading proficiency by 3rd grade is the most important predictor of high school graduation and career success. Nationwide more than 80 percent of low-income children miss this crucial milestone.

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The Grinnell Education Partnership has been recognized on the state and national level for effective cross-sector collaboration benefitting kids and families. 

  • 2016 Leave It Better Than You Found It Award for highly collaborative community involvement and effective success during its initial stages. (Grinnell-based Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation)

  • 2017 Pacesetter Award for outstanding alignment between private, public, and social sectors to achieve measurable progress in literacy achievement (Campaign for Grade Level Reading)

  • 2018 Bright Spot for inspirational solutions (Campaign for Grade Level Reading)

  • 2018 Council of Champions for extraordinary individual contributions. Five community members were inducted into the Council of Champions for their outstanding contribution to the campaign — Sarah Seney, Karen Neal, Chad Nath, Doug Cameron, and Julie Gosselink (Campaign for Grade Level Reading)

  • 2019 Presidential Excellence Award for volunteerism (International Town and Gown Association)

  • 2019 Pacesetter Award for demonstrating population-level progress in the key progress indicator of grade-level reading proficiency in K-3 for low-income children. Also received recognition for serving as a proof point in strengthening cross-sector collaboration, interagency partnership and community-wide mobilization (Campaign for Grade Level Reading)

  • 2019 Pacesetter Community Honors for supporting early school success with exemplary work in big tent collaboration. (Campaign for Grade Level Reading)

  • 2019 Pacesetter Award for reporting significant progress in improving school attendance and chronic absence. (Campaign for Grade Level Reading)

  • 2019 Outstanding Nonprofit Collaboration Award for demonstrating excellence in collaborative efforts that increase the effectiveness and efficiency of services with the long-term goal of enhancing Iowa communities (State of Iowa)

  • 2020 President's Engaged Campus Community Partner Award and Community Collaboration Award (Iowa/Minnesota Campus Compact)

  • 2022 Pacesetter Award for GEP's work in supporting early school success. (Campaign for Grade Level Reading)

  • 2022 Above & Beyond Award from the Grinnell Newburg Community School District

  • 2023 Certified High Impact Network — Certified with the Networks for Non-profits and Social Impact at Northwestern University

  • 2023 Pacesetter Community Honors for three programs focused on reversing the "summer slide," creating digital equity, and ensuring kindergartners are given the opportunity to start their education strong. (Campaign for Grade Level Reading)

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“The Grinnell Education Partnership is an incredible network of organizations and individuals who collectively address community wide needs and solutions. Consisting of more than 20 community partners, we work together to support and enhance local educational programs. Since its inception, the Grinnell Education Partnership has worked to strengthen community connections through creative partnerships. It's truly a community effort!”

—Karen Neal
Drake Community Library Director
“Grinnell College – together with the Greater Poweshiek Community Foundation – supports a network of more than 20 organizations, who serve as community-based innovators, bringing their respective resources, skills, trustworthiness, influence, access and knowledge to the table. Demonstrating measurable improvements in student success, the Partnership has transformed the way the College works with our community’s nonprofits and how those organizations work together especially as they continue to adapt to the current social, economic and health challenges of our time. The College is proud to serve as a backbone agency for this important community wide initiative.”

—Anne Harris
Grinnell College President
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“The Grinnell Education Partnership has set a high bar for how a community comes together to ensure all children reach their full potential. GEP is one of the very best both in Iowa and our national network of over 350 communities in the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading.”

—Becky Miles-Polka
Within Reach Consulting Services President
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“The Grinnell Education Partnership results are outstanding. The City values local talent and wholeheartedly supports giving our youth a fair chance at success. The statistics certainly speak for themselves.”

—Dan Agnew
Grinnell Mayor
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“GEP is one of our strongest community coalitions within the national network, leading the way and making exemplary contributions in key indicators of early school success. They have achieved ‘Pacesetter’ status multiple times, the highest honor within our network, in recognition of measurable impacts for their dedication to ensuring children and families are supported with achieving literacy outcomes.”

—Malai Amfahr
Campaign for Grade-Level Reading
Senior Program Officer
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