Ready for School is a community initiative which engages all sectors of the community.
In 2016 the Strategic Direction 2020 was adopted by the Board of Directors. This was the culmination of an eight month strategic review of the community’s early childhood efforts that was completed by Mullins Consulting, FSG and The Ready for School Evaluation workgroup.
The Strategic Direction 2020 has three areas of focus: Education, Community Engagement and Collaboration.
GOAL ONE: Optimize access to quality early childhood learning
Objective 2017-2020: collaborate to ensure adequate 3and 4 year old preschool access and capacity
Objective 2017-2018: collaborate to sustain early childcare and preschool quality
Objective 2018-2020: creating financially sustainable community preschool access
GOAL TWO: Continuing to bring the community together with the shared goal of school readiness
Objective 2017: convening and committing to a common goal of school readiness
Objective 2017-2018: creating a framework that will increase early childhood provider participation in community early childhood collaborations
Objective 2018-2020: creating a sustainable community early childhood educator network and readiness champions to support
Community Engagement Focus
GOAL ONE: Community commitment to readiness across sectors and cultures
Objective 2017: catalyzing a broad based community readiness campaign focusing on early literacy, social-emotional readiness & the kindergarten transition
Objective 2017-18: connecting parents & leadership in the early childhood system
Objective 2018-20: creating sustainable framework to support community readiness
GOAL TWO: Strengthening business through early childhood investment
Objective 2017-20: ensuring ongoing corporate financial investment
Objective 2017-18: catalyzing corporate expertise for sustainability of the early childhood education in our community
Objective 2018-20: connecting corporate champions with early childhood learning and collaborating on ways in which a strong early childhood network can be part of a solution to talent recruitment, retention and development
GOAL ONE: Lead with data that impacts child development and wellbeing
Objective 2017: create a data dashboard that includes child wellbeing indicators
Objective 2017-20: catalyzing collaboration conversations with a data dashboard that may include indicators beyond kindergarten
GOAL TWO: Strengthen community alignment
Objective 2017-20: aligning Ready for School early childhood strategies with promising talent development initiatives
Objective 2017-18: aligning Ready for School strategies and data reporting where applicable across sensible geographic service areas: Holland/Zeeland/Hamilton, OAISD & T2025 Regions
Objective 2017-2020: strengthening
The strategies and activities of Ready for School align under three backbone committees—ACT, ADVOCATE, SUSTAIN. Each committee has its own strategies and tactics to impact kindergarten readiness. The committees work within a unified structure to integrate and create synergies among community sectors
The committee consists of the leadership of multiple sub-committees and work groups which represent the medical, early education and care, government and community agencies, k-12 education, faith-based, and employer sectors. A variety of tactics are implemented to drive three key strategies.
Strategy I: Engage and inform community, parents and children by changing attitudes and behaviors around the importance of the early childhood years by:
- Improving parent’s confidence and motivating them to action
- Increasing parent engagement within targeted opportunity zones
- Increasing opportunities for children to learn early
- Increasing opportunities for community involvement in the early childhood movement
Strategy II: Enhancing early childhood experiences by working with area medical providers and early childhood professionals.
- Increase the number of medical providers who champion readiness
- Increase the number and credentials of early childhood providers
- Increase opportunities for professional development
Strategy III: Communicate and integrate efforts internal to the ACT Committee as well as informing those responsible for the advocating and sustaining functions of the overall work plan.
The committee has within its membership individuals who represent funders, the board of directors, experts in research and early childhood, and parents. This committee drives four strategies that support the work of the ACT and SUSTAIN Committees.
Strategy I: Maximize opportunities for school readiness through expansion.
Strategy II: Ensure data driven decision making is occurring across committees through the identification of metrics and evaluation.
Strategy III: Remove barriers to early childhood experiences through greater access.
Strategy IV: Create and maintain an efficient internal model of communication within the committee structure and with stakeholders.
Two sub-committees drive the strategies of the committee, the Development Committee and the Sustainability Committee. The committees have within their membership individuals that represent funders, the board of directors and key community stakeholders.
Strategy I: To create a portfolio of investments that will sustain Ready for School over the next five years.
Strategy II: To identify and implement new infrastructure that will provide the long term funds that sustain and exceed the gains made.
Strategy III: Communicate and integrate efforts internal to the SUSTAIN Committee as well as informing those responsible for the action and advocating functions of the overall work plan.