The National Civic League and the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading named the City of Phoenix as winner of the 2022 All-America City Award.
This year’s theme was, “Housing as a Platform to Promote Early School Success and Equitable Learning Recovery.”
“The city’s commitment to improving digital equity and collaborating with Phoenix residents in underinvested areas and public housing communities landed the city a winning spot,” according to a release.
Phoenix was one of 20 finalist cities across the nation and is one of 10 communities to be recognized this year.
“COVID-19 caused a profound shift in traditional learning. As students transitioned to an online learning environment, we knew too many families were missing the basic tools needed to navigate this new way of learning,” said Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego.
“City staff put forth a tremendous effort to close this digital divide, especially for our most vulnerable kids. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished, and equally proud the City of Phoenix has been honored with the All-America City Award for the sixth time.”
During the pandemic, the city mobilized community partnerships to distribute more than 12,000 laptops to 15 school districts in underserved areas within public housing communities, the release stated.
Additionally, the city provided 1,600 tablets and Wi-Fi connectivity to families and seniors for at-home learning, telemedicine and more.
Providing digital devices was one step the city has taken to support residents.
As the literacy rate for Phoenix students passing the third-grade reading assessment declined to 25%, Phoenix co-created literacy and tutoring programs with students, parents and educators to reverse the trend.
“As someone who grew up in public housing during my childhood, I understand the impact these programs have on our residents. It takes a village to aid in the success of our youth and I am proud to lead a city that takes initiative to make a positive impact on its residents,” said Phoenix City Manager Jeff Barton.
The City of Phoenix has won the All-America City designation six times: 1950, 1958, 1980, 1989, 2009 and 2022.