I am writing on behalf of the Kansas Reading Roadmap, which is committed to ensuring that all students have the foundation to gain proficiency in reading so they graduate on time.
The Kansas City Star covered the release of the County Health Rankings, a report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute that examine the health of every county. (March 30, 5A, “Wyandotte no longer last in health ratings”)
Wyandotte County ranked 101 of 102 in Kansas. Factors that hurt its ranking include adult obesity and child poverty, but another issue affects the health of Wyandotte County’s residents: graduation rates.
Only 73 percent of students in Wyandotte County graduated high school on time. This is a problem because education is linked to future employment, which affects how well and how long people live.
The Kansas Reading Roadmap is committed to improving high school graduation rates by addressing the problem before a child reaches the fourth grade. By this summer, the Roadmap will be working with more than 12,000 students in 61 schools through afterschool, family engagement and summer programs focused on literacy.
Spreading this model in Wyandotte County and throughout the state will improve graduation rates and the health of Kansas students.