We’re not surprised—we know Delray’s one of the stellar All-America cities in the nation. But this week we may get handed that award yet again.

Today, a delegation for Delray Beach heads to Denver, Colorado, where they will find out if Delray will win its All-America City Award—for the third time! The city won in 1993 and 2001, based on specific projects it showcased but this time around, the entire emphasis is on third grade reading levels. The city is already one of 32 finalists (from a field of 102), based on the comprehensive plan it submitted with a goal of increasing the number of children reading at grade level by the end of third grade.

"We're honored to be a part of the National Civic League's nationwide conversation about third-grade reading, particularly after learning that 50 percent of our third-grade public-school students are not reading at grade level and that 62 percent are living in poverty," said Mayor Woodie McDuffie, who is joining Old School Square’s Joe Gillie, Village Academy’s Guarn Sims, and other city reps Lula Butler and Janet Meeks on the trek to Denver.  "We're hoping that through a unified community effort, we can improve third-grade reading levels by 50 percent before 2020."

In Delray Beach, as in other cities, the focus is on three key strategies: ensuring children arrive in kindergarten prepared to succeed; improving attendance levels and increasing educational opportunities during the summer months.

Winners will be announced Monday, July 2, at the All-America City Conference in Denver.