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Newsroom Governor Kicks Off Another Year of Kansas Reading Roadmap

Governor Kicks Off Another Year of Kansas Reading Roadmap
Kansas educators gather in Wichita in support of reading proficiency program


TOPEKA – Governor Sam Brownback was met with a room full of enthusiastic educators for a pep rally this morning, in Wichita, as the Kansas Reading Roadmap (KRR) is about to begin its second full school year in the state.


The Governor addressed teachers and tutors at KRR’s back-to-school training session held at the Wichita Marriott, 9100 Corporate Hills Dr., to gather feedback on the program and to present awards to some of the top-performing schools. The Governor took to the stage to emphasize the importance of reading proficiency.


“You are on the frontline in the war on poverty,” Brownback told the gathering of educators. “We know that one of the biggest predictors of future success in school, and in life, is the ability to read proficiently at the fourth grade level. You are the ones pouring your hearts into that child in need, and you are the ones who are helping them out of a future of poverty.”


KRR is a third-grade reading initiative the Governor launched in January 2014, with a focus on rural and semi-rural school districts. The program also has an urban component that works in partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs in several Kansas communities.


Attendees of the training seminar represented 43 programs that serve 44 schools across Kansas.


“Our partners have successfully established the programs in their schools and had great results,” KRR Executive Director Andrew Hysell said. “While we’ve seen impressive results so far, we expect to see even more success in the upcoming school year. We’re really proud of what these schools are accomplishing and are excited that this training event is preparing them for even more success.” 


KRR is a partnership between local schools, the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE), and the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF). Funding for KRR is drawn from the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, administered by DCF.


Research by The Annie E. Casey Foundation shows that children who read at grade level by the third grade are four times more likely to graduate high school. The program focuses on helping children of low-income families in grades kindergarten through third to develop reading proficiency.


KRR coordinates four aspects of a child’s life that contribute to reading ability—in-school and after-school learning, family engagement and summer learning. 


Each day, an average of 2,000 students are served in KRR afterschool programs. In addition, KRR serves nearly 300 low-income families with family engagement services.


“We’ve accumulated a significant amount of data in the year and a half we’ve been doing the program, and that helps us identify the specific needs of each individual student,” Natalie Vanderbeck, KRR program coordinator at a Pittsburg elementary school, said. “The data shows that our students are accelerating at a very encouraging rate.”

KSDE provides training for schools to help them improve their in-school instruction via the Multi-Tier System of Supports (MTSS), which provides evidence-based, system-wide practices to support education. DCF provides funds for KRR afterschool programs and family engagement sessions known as Families and Schools Together (FAST), to further support the work being done in school.

The Governor and Hysell presented awards to three schools for their achievements. An award for Greatest Growth was presented to Fairfield USD #310, the award for Highest Percentage Reading at Grade Level went to Humboldt USD #258. Recognition as the Veteran KRR School was given to Pittsburg USD #250.


Governor Sam Brownback addresses educators from all over the state, during Kansas Reading Roadmap training in Wichita.