Over the past 18 months, the Catawba Partnership for Children, Chowan CARES, Inspired Randolph Collaborative, and the Rockingham Partnership for Children have participated in our KidsReadyNC initiative. This is an initiative designed to help these selected Tier 1 or Tier 2 communities strengthen leadership capacity within their local early childhood development systems. In partnership with the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute (FPG), the initiative built upon the “kidonomics” theme featured at the 2018 Emerging Issues Forum.
The communities received tools and technical assistance and participated in a peer-learning process all designed to boost capacity and improve outcomes for children and families within their counties.
The communities also selected one of seven “measures of success” identified by NC Pathways to Grade-Level Reading (“Pathways”) stakeholders as priorities for action.
“It was so inspiring to be with the four KidsReadyNC teams as we reflected on our 18 months together,” said Dr. Patrick Cronin, Assistant Director for the Institute for Emerging Issues and lead on the KidsReadyNC Initiative. “This initiative was about building local leadership capacity, and every community had concrete examples of success, despite being in the early implementation of their work plans.”
During the fourth and final semi-annual meeting, community members had the chance to reflect on the overall success of the initiative and their work and to discuss what’s next to ensure collaborative efforts continue to improve the health and development outcomes of the young children in NC. When asked what gives them hope and strength for the work ahead, a common refrain was the passion and commitment of their fellow team members. It was also echoed by those attending the final meeting how grateful they were to be a part of KidsReadyNC because of the accountability and access to resources the initiative provided.
“Participating in the KidsReadyNC initiative has been a profound experience for us,” said Sheila Evans, Principal, White Oak Elementary School, Edenton-Chowan Schools. “Having that accountability partner that supported us and stretched us really took our Chowan group to the next level.”
The KidsReadyNC initiative was funded in part by grants from The Belk Foundation and The Duke Endowment. During the meeting, Johanna Anderson, Executive Director for The Belk Foundation, and Meka Sales, Director of Special Initiatives for The Duke Endowment, held a discussion regarding what they learned about early childhood systems change.
Additional images from KidsReadyNC Fourth Semi-Annual Meeting October 28-29.