On Monday, San Antonio was named an "All-America" city by the National Civic League for its efforts to improve reading levels among area third graders.
"In San Antonio, we recognize that brainpower is the currency of success in the 21st century," said San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro in a press release.
Castro is currently in San Diego on business.
"Those cities that nurture it will be the most prosperous in the coming years and decades. For that reason, we are truly honored by the All-America City Award because it shows we are on the right track to get every child to read by the third grade and put them on a path to academic success and a brighter economic future," he wrote.
The city was one of 14 selected out of over 100 entries. City leaders want to have 100 percent of third graders reading at grade level by 2020 and expect to reach that lofty goal through a community coalition including the Antioch Community Transformation Network, Big Brothers Big Sisters, City Year San Antonio, San Antonio Public Library Foundation, United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County, Boys & Girls Clubs, the Kronkosky Charitable Foundation, San Antonio Youth Literacy, the USAA Foundation, the University of Texas at San Antonio and YMCA.
"The real test however is actually doing it," said Bartell Zachry, Jr., of P16Plus, another group working with the city to help reach its goal. "So I would like to come back here about three years from now and say look what has been done, what has been achieved."
Third grade is considered a turning point in childrens' educations, when they go from learning to read to reading to learn. Difficulties at third grade can snowball into continued struggles during school and after.
"We recognize the significance of providing the support and leadership needed to afford children in our community with the equitable opportunity to acquire strong reading proficiency abilities," said city manager Sheryl Sculley. "Through continued collaboration with our education partners, the city will remain proactively engaged in this highly rewarding community-wide learning endeavor. All children deserve an equal ability to learn and achieve."