Paul's Note - October 26, 2018

Most of our political arguments, at least in local politics, are about education. Over the last few months, it’s been about #RedForEd, charter schools and who should sit on the TUSD board. Education is the most important thing our state government does, and it should consume a lot of our energy as we decide how we are going to vote.

That said, I have a bit of bad news for you. What we do might not matter if kids aren’t ready to be students. 83.5% of preschoolers, that’s over 20,000 kids, are at risk of being not ready for kindergarten.

Education experts say the best way to ensure that kids are ready to go to kindergarten is to make sure that their parents read to them. That’s where the Reach Out and Read program comes in.

Reach Out and Read is a program run by Literacy Connects that works with pediatricians to encourage parents to read aloud to their kids. They even prescribe books to parents and children. Parents who go through the program are four times more likely to read to their kids.

Literacy Connects runs many programs like this, from programs that serve preschoolers like Reach Out and Read to classes for adults that have a hard time finding employment because of their lack of high-level reading skills.

They’ve been around since 2011 when five other literacy programs joined forces. The merger was a success. Last year, 55,000 Southern Arizonans went through their programs. Those are 55,000 Southern Arizonans who can do better in school or look for better employment now.

Literacy Connects depends on volunteers to do much of their work. If you can read this newsletter, you can volunteer to help another person with their reading skills.

To sign up for a volunteer information session to learn about Literacy Connects and all the ways you can be involved. Info sessions will be held the second and fourth Tuesday of each month at their office at 200 E. Yavapai Rd. You can visit their web page at literacyconnects.org or call 882-8006.

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Back in April, I mentioned the death of Rose Davila, who worked in the City Attorney’s office. At this week’s council meeting, my colleagues and I renamed the lobby at the City Attorney’s office the Rose M. Davila Customer Service Lobby.

Day after day, the real work of this city is done by the Rose Davilas, who are the faces of our city departments for many of you that need city services. You might never meet the department head, but you’ll meet the person at the customer service window or the front desk. The fact is, it’s the competence and caring of people like Rose that makes this city run as well as it does.

This is from the memo from City Attorney Mike Rankin that we got on Tuesday about the renaming:

The individual proposed for recognition, Rose M. Davila, was an employee of the City Prosecutor’s Office for nearly 30 years. For 20 of those years, Rose served as the Customer Service Representative of the CPO. During that time, Rose was the face and voice of the CPO. Every single day she greeted and served defendants, victims, witnesses, attorneys, law enforcement officers, and every other person in the criminal justice system who walked through the door or called in to the CPO looking for help. Rose welcomes everyone with a smile, and did her best to help them through a difficult situation. Rose was the first point of contact for thousands of people navigating the criminal justice system, and she treated every person with respect. Her positive spirit and commitment to excellent public service made a lasting impression on everyone she met and served. She was probably the greatest ambassador of goodwill for the CPO, and the Office of the City Attorney, has ever seen.