The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading seeks to disrupt generational poverty by ensuring
early school success for the children of economically challenged and marginalized families.

GLR Week 2022

GLR Week 2022, CGLR’s annual virtual conference, will run concurrently with the All-America City Awards. To learn more about our plenary and state-level events and to register for GLR Week 2022 sessions, please visit our conference website.

Mobilization and Engagement through LEO Webinars

CGLR’s Learning and Engagement Opportunities (LEO) webinars offer a predictable and reliable set of learning opportunities informed, inspired and energized by a mix of presenters who share knowledge derived from research, practice and lived experience. LEO includes GLR Learning Tuesdays online learning sessions offered every Tuesday at 3 p.m. ET, with three monthly series designed to engage funders, communities and program partners taking place at 12:30 p.m. ET.

In the first 2.5 years of LEO, CGLR has emerged as an important resource for the field of cross-sector leaders working at the local, state and national levels to ensure more hopeful futures for more young children, especially children in economically challenged families. To date, CGLR has hosted more than 180 webinars, engaging more than 670 leaders as panelists — including dozens of superintendents and principals and several state education chiefs — with more than 13,800 individuals attending at least one session. LEO attendees include leaders across the early childhood, education and health and human services sectors; researchers; policymakers; funders; and advocates.

Several past LEO webinars focused on one or more of the seven Areas of Focus as part of the 2022 All-America City Awards. Below are a sample of these sessions. We encourage and invite you to create an account on CGLR’s Community Learning for Impact and Improvement Platform (CLIP) to view and learn from these sessions, to advance collective understanding and engagement on these critical components of supporting early school success and equitable learning recovery.

Digital Equity

Webinar: Advancing Digital Equity to Support Powerful Learning


  • Jean Claude Brizard, President & CEO, Digital Promise
  • Michael Calabrese, Director, Wireless Future Project, New America
  • Nathan L. Fisher, Ed.D., Superintendent, Roselle Public Schools
  • Kristine A. Gilmore, Ed.D., Superintendent, D.C. Everest Area School District
  • Christopher Rush, Senior Advisor to the Secretary for Innovation and Director of Education Technology, US DOE
  • D’Andre Weaver, Ph.D., Chief Digital Equity Officer, Digital Promise

“It’s important to know that you have to move the needle when it comes to addressing digital access. I focus on the fact that we’re trying to create skill sets that prepare students for career pathways. Soft skills are one thing, but having a digital citizen is a whole other piece that makes a student more employable and successful in life in general. These things are so essential. It was on the periphery in a traditional classroom but now it’s so embedded in the practice it’s prioritized in terms of ensuring that kids can use these devices.”
– Nathan L. Fisher, Ed.D., Superintendent, Roselle Public Schools

Relational Supports

Webinar: The Centrality of Relationships: Tutors, Mentors, Coaches and Parents


  • Janet Carter, President & CEO, Coaching Corps
  • Gina Martinez-Keddy, Executive Director, Parent Teacher Home Visits
  • David Shapiro, CEO, MENTOR
  • Adeola Whitney, President & CEO, Reading Partners
  • John Gomperts, CGLR Executive Fellow, Moderator

“The wisdom of an 11 year old has never left me, when he said ‘I never do anything bad enough or good enough to get an adult’s attention.” The question is how do we create the rigor, the intentionality the equal proportional focus on relationship all the time – not just not when things are ‘good’ or ‘bad.'”
– David Shapiro, CEO, MENTOR

Afterschool, Summer, Out of School  Time

Webinar: $22B for Afterschool & Summer: Realizing the Opportunity for Communities


  • Candice Buchanan, Executive Director, SummerCollab
  • Stacie Evans, President and CEO, Young Audiences of Maryland
  • Lara Ohanian, Director, Differentiated Learning, Baltimore City Public Schools
  • Terry K. Peterson, Ph.D., Senior Fellow, Riley Institute, Furman University, Education Advisor, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Co-Chair, Afterschool Alliance
  • Chris Smith, Executive Director, Boston Afterschool & Beyond
  • Kylie Wheeler, Project Manager, Children’s Funding Project
  • Toni Wiley, CEO, Sportsman’s Tennis & Enrichment Center
  • Rhonda H. Lauer, President & CEO, Foundations, Inc. (Moderator)

“The American Rescue Plan Act designates billions of dollars for schools to help students recover and accelerate learning through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER). $22 billion of those funds have been targeted for comprehensive afterschool and summer enrichment. These funds present a golden opportunity to maximize those hours afterschool and, in the summer – to build relationships, to reengage students and families – to recover from learning loss and to accelerate student growth and development. Now is the time for schools and community organizations to partner and mobilize in ways that will have the greatest impact on our children.
Now is the time to commit to these partnerships not just for the short term but for the longterm.”
– Rhonda Lauer, President and Chief Executive Officer, Foundations, Inc.

Learning-Rich Environments

Webinar: Inspiring Learning in Everyday Places


  • Samantha Emerine, Director of Literacy Initiatives, Southwest Iowa – Raise Me to Read
  • Kathleen Knudsen, Facilitator, Metro-Omaha – Raise Me to Read
  • Sarah Lytle, Ph.D., Executive Director, Playful Learning Landscape Action Network (PLLAN)
  • Debora Wisneski, Ph.D., John T. Langan Community Chair in Early Childhood Education, University of Nebraska Omaha
  • Dea Wright, Director, City of Milwaukee Office of EArly Childhood Education Initiatives, Office of the Mayor
  • Siobhan O’Loughlin Reardon, Auerbach-Berger Senior Fellow, CGLR, Moderator

“Along with physical exercise, playful learning opportunities facilitate social interactions, communication, connection with caregivers, the joy of creativity, and collaborative problem solving. All of which provide children with the skills needed to prevent adverse mental health outcomes.” -Sarah Lytle, Ph.D. , Playful Learning Landscapes Action Network (PLLAN)

School Readiness, Attendance, Summer Learning

Webinar: Safe, Connected & Learning: Rengaging Young Students and Their Families


  • Eric Gordon, Chief Executive Officer, Cleveland Metropolitan School District, Ohio
  • Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez, Superintendent, Hartford Public Schools
  • Wendell Waukau, Superintendent, Menominee Indian School District, Wisconsin
  • Hedy Chang, Executive Director, Attendance Works

“I want to talk about this whole piece of restorative practices, because it really became our accountability system for behavior. I’m sure many of you will know: you can’t suspend your way out of this, you can’t give fines, you can’t fine your way out of it. It’s all got to be relational. What we did was we shifted the consequence to the end, versus the front. What we’ve shifted is that accountability comes at the end when kids have an opportunity to process emotions. What we’ve found is that there have been better responses when we do that. It might be a little harder for the teacher, but ultimately this is what we’re doing for our kids. This who restorative practice piece has been powerful for us.”
-Wendell Waukau, Superintendent Menominee Indian School District

Parents as Essential Partners

Webinar: Why Shattering the Wall Between Home and School is a Good Thing


  • Dionne Aminata, Lead Curriculum Writer, Grades 2-5, Illustrative Mathematics, Curriculum Implementation Support Specialist, LAUSD
  • Adrienne Austin, Deputy Chancellor of Community Empowerment, Partnerships and Communication, NYC Department of Education
  • Alejandro Gibes de Gac, Founder and CEO, Springboard Collaborative
  • Heejae Lim, Founder and CEO, Talking Points
  • Vidya Sundaram, Co-Founder and CEO, Family Engagement Lab
  • Stephanie Sharp, Associate Program Officer, Overdeck Family Foundation (Moderator)

“The education sector tends to look at black and brown parents, and they don’t see a teacher. They don’t see the asset that family truly is. COVID has disrupted that mental model, which creates an urgent and singular opportunity for our field as a whole to build a new mental model. One in which educators see parents as co-teachers and teammates. In a lot of ways, I think COVID has been a forcing function that makes us realize that when it comes to educating kids, there’s no going around parents. You have to work with them, you have to work through them in order to ensure that kids have access to learning across the continuum of home and school. That’s always been true, but COVID just made it painfully apparent. But therein lies the opportunity, that’s the silver lining that we can find hope in. That we’ve got that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to rebuild so that family engagement becomes the new normal, so that educators and families are working together rather than in isolation. And, so that school systems become more equitable places that value black and brown parents as experts and invest in them as partners.”
–Alejandro Gibes de Gac, Founder & CEO, Springboard Collaborative

Parents Succeeding in Their Journey

Webinar: Join the Movement: Activating Your Parent Village


  • Yolie Flores, National Campaign Director, Building a Parent Nation, TMW Center for Early Learning + Public Health, University of Chicago
  • Sarita Sashington, Senior Strategic Relationships Manager and Senior Trainer Be Strong Families
  • Kendra Smiley, Statewide Family Engagement Center Director, National Center for Families Learning
  • Rosa Guzman Snyder, Community Development Director, National Center for Families Learning
  • Dr. Dana Suskind, Director, Pediatric Cochlear Implantation Program, MW Center for Early Learning + Public Health, University of Chicago
  • John Gomperts, CGLR Executive Fellow, Moderator

“The most important part for us was having the parent voice be heard. We are all about making sure that parents have a seat at the table, nothing about us without us.” – Sarita Sashington, Be Strong Families. “Bring parents together and activate their power…to build this parent nation, to build this idea that parents need support. We believe that all children should have the opportunity to reach their dreams, to reach their potential.”
– Yolie Flores, Parent Nation.


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