The National Civic League has named Roanoke a 2012 All-America City, marking the sixth time it has earned the distinction - a feat achieved by no other city. Other years the city has won include 1952, 1979, 1982, 1988, and 1996.
The city's entry was the "Star City Reads" campaign, a plan to ensure that more Roanoke children are reading at grade level by the end of third grade. Roanoke's plan makes the city a charter member in the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading Community Network, a national movement of local leaders, nonprofits and foundations putting a stake in the ground on third-grade reading. As a charter member, Roanoke will have access to a Promising Practices Clearinghouse, an online help desk, peer-learning opportunities, meetings with national experts and policymakers, and a foundation registry designed to expand and replicate successful programs.
"It is an honor for Roanoke to be selected as an All-America City Award winner for its ‘Star City Reads' campaign," says Roanoke Mayor David Bowers. "We are confident this initiative will be an effective
tool for us to ensure that more Roanoke children are reading at grade level by the end of third grade. Special thanks go to our partners-Roanoke City Public Schools, United Way of Roanoke Valley,
Smart Beginnings of Greater Roanoke, Total Action against Poverty, Roanoke Public Libraries, Blue Ridge Literacy, and Dr. Craig Ramey and Dr. Sharon Ramey from the Virginia Tech Carilion Research
Institute-for their contribution to the development of this campaign. In Roanoke, we affirm that ‘reading is everybody's business.' This is because reading lets our children become ‘STARS' in their own right -
capable lifelong learners with open minds and hearts, and the skills to succeed in school and life."
Roanoke was one of 32 finalists selected through a peer review process from a field of more than 100 entries across the country selected. In all, the National Civic League named 14 communities All-America Cities for 2012:
- Baltimore, Maryland
- Dubuque, Iowa
- Providence, Rhode Island
- Louisville, Kentucky
- Marshalltown, Iowa
- Pittsfield, Massachusetts
- Quad Cities, Iowa and Illinois
- Roanoke, Virginia
- San Antonio, Texas
- San Francisco, California
- Seattle and the South King County Cities, Washington
- Southern Pines, North Carolina
- Springfield, Massachusetts
- Tahoe/Truckee, California
businesses and faith groups detailing how they would address school readiness, attendance and summer learning.