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Mayor Launches City of Tulsa Reading Partners Initiative with TPS

This article was archived on 1/1/0001

Earlier today, Mayor G.T. Bynum signed an executive order to give City of Tulsa employees the option of volunteering with Reading Partners during City business hours. The executive order states an employee will be allowed two hours of volunteer time per week, pending supervisor approval, to meet the Reading Partners program requirements.

Mayor Bynum is dedicated to helping Tulsa become a premier place in Oklahoma for children and youth to receive an education.

“Creating world-class educational opportunities in Tulsa means we have to do things a little differently than they’ve been done in the past, and this partnership with Reading Partners is a great step forward in that regard,” said Mayor G.T. Bynum. “This is an evidence-based approach that recognizes the importance of third-grade reading proficiency as a benchmark for future academic success. I’m excited for City of Tulsa employees to have this opportunity.”

Reading Partners mission is to ensure that K-3rd grade students in Tulsa Public elementary schools have the literacy skills they need to read on grade level and be successful in school and in life. Of the 14 Reading Partners locations across the U.S., the Tulsa region is the second largest region serving 1,300 students in 24 reading centers across Tulsa Public elementary schools.

“Reading Partners is proud that Mayor Bynum has placed such a high value on reading for Tulsa Public School students through his executive order for City of Tulsa employees to volunteer with our program. We greatly appreciate this partnership, because each year we see the tremendous results that just one hour per week of a volunteer’s time makes on students’ reading proficiency. We look forward to City employees getting involved in the program and being part of the solution to helping students achieve the reading skills they need to succeed in school and in life,” said Elizabeth Brands Vereecke, Reading Partners Executive Director.

Public education matters to Tulsans and third-grade reading is a key academic benchmark for students and an issue of communitywide importance. Students reading below grade level in third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school than their peers. A high school dropout will earn an average of $1 million less over the course of their lifetime than their peer with a bachelor degree.

About Reading Partners

Reading Partners complements Tulsa Public Schools’ work to ensure all students read on grade level and is a proven way for the community – in just one hour of volunteer time per week – to be part of the solution to helping every student have the literacy skills they need to succeed in school and in life.

As part of the November Rally for Reading, George Kaiser Family Foundation announced a $1 for $1 match grant for donations of $50,000 or more to support this year's goal to serve 300 additional students across a total of 24 Tulsa Public reading centers.

Reading Partners is proud to announce that the Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation, FW Murphy Family Foundation, Nadel and Gussman Energy, LLC, QuikTrip, and Stan and Irene Burstein Family Foundation are supporting Reading Partners through this match. Their financial support at this level ensures that we are able to reach more students, providing them with proven results year-over-year. 

Last year, 90 percent of K-2nd grade students in Reading Partners mastered the foundational literacy skills needed to read on grade level.