Community Engagement

The purpose of TRANSFORMATIVE SYSTEM OF SUPPORT FOR EARLY LITERACY (WVBE Policy 2512) is to provide rules that encourage and assist county boards in establishing a transformative system of support for students to meet grade-level proficiency in reading by the end of third grade, targeting a comprehensive system of support for early literacy in grades kindergarten through third grade. This approach focuses on supports during the early learning years which include schools and engaged communities mobilized to remove barriers, expand opportunities, and assist parents in fulfilling their roles and responsibilities to serve as full partners in the success of their children. The development of a comprehensive, systemic approach to close the reading achievement gap by third grade targets school readiness, the attendance gap, summer learning loss and a transformative intervention framework and serves as the blueprint for West Virginia’s Campaign for Grade Level Reading.

Engaging Communities increases your campaign’s influence and ability to achieve the change you desire. It broadens your base of support and can put you in touch with important contacts to leverage resources and get specialized expertise. That kind of support not only makes a program more effective but also improves its prospects for sustainability.

The community partners that you engage are potential candidates for the County Campaign for Grade-Level Reading Team that will assist with the development of your county’s Needs Assessment (Step 2). They can also be instrumental in:

  • Identifying additional community partners.
  • Building "social capital" -- social ties, networks, and support -- which is associated with better community unity and well-being.
  • Decision-making that can uncover and mobilize community assets, strengths, and resources that would have been otherwise overlooked.

Before you begin, you need to create a strategy for “gaining entry.” Identify local individuals and organizations that have historically been advocates of education and literacy initiatives, and build relationships with them based on trust and mutual respect. Think about who might be good leaders and who might play different roles. Consider what resources you will need to get people involved and sustain their interest until goals are met.

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