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April 24, 2013

Baltimore and San Francisco Mayors Tutor Students as Part of Super Bowl Bet

The Baltimore Ravens win at Super Bowl XLVII earned Baltimore City Public School students class time with the mayors


Oakland, CA—April 24, 2013— On Friday, April 26, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake will welcome Mayor Edwin M. Lee of San Francisco to fulfill the friendly wager made prior to Super Bowl XLVII. As part of the traditional Super Bowl bet, the mayors wagered a day of service in their opponent’s city. Mayor Lee is traveling to Baltimore to help revitalize vacant lots, renovate a police station, and tutor children at an area school.

Mayors Rawlings-Blake and Lee will provide one-on-one reading tutoring to students at Friendship Academy at Cherry Hill in coordination with Reading Partners, a national nonprofit literacy program and AmeriCorps national service partner. Reading Partners is the implementing partner for Mayor Rawlings-Blake’s Third Grade Reads initiative, the goal of which is to ensure that all Baltimore students are reading at grade level by the end of third grade.

“A strong foundation of reading skills is critical for future academic success,” said Baltimore Mayor Rawlings-Blake. “Reading Partners is an essential part of the Third Grade Reads initiative. We all need to work together to ensure all students are reading at grade level by fourth grade.”

In February, Mayor Rawlings-Blake issued an executive order to allow full-time Baltimore City employees to take up to two hours of approved paid permission leave per week to serve as volunteer reading tutors in Baltimore schools for the initiative.

“Falling behind in reading can have huge implications for the rest of a child’s life,” said Lisa Lazarus, Regional Executive Director of Reading Partners Mid-Atlantic. “Reading Partners gives members of the Baltimore community the tools they need to make a real difference in the lives of our children and their families.”

In 2011, just 11% of Baltimore fourth graders could read with proficiency.

Reading Partners, which was founded in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1999, opened its first Baltimore reading center at Friendship Academy at Cherry Hill in January 2012. The one-on-one tutoring program recruits and trains community volunteers to work with students using a research-validated literacy curriculum. Reading Partners now serves 201 Baltimore students in four schools. Nationally, the program serves 5,000 students with the support of more than 6,000 community volunteers.

Reading Partners sees demonstrable results in the reading skills of students in its program. In the 2011-12 school year, 91% of Baltimore students accelerated their progress in reading, and 76% finished the year closer to their target grade level than when they began the school year.

About Reading Partners

Reading Partners is a national nonprofit that provides volunteer-led, one-on-one literacy tutoring to K-5 students at low-income elementary schools. Reading Partners has an 89% success rate improving students’ reading skills. At each school site, Reading Partners transforms a dedicated space into a reading center and recruits a corps of 40-100 community volunteers who work directly with students. Volunteers are trained and supported by site coordinators to use a highly structured and research-validated curriculum to work one-on-one with students who have fallen behind in reading. To learn more, visit



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