KidsReadyNC Community Partners!


News Release:  “Communities Selected for New ‘KidsReadyNC’ Initiative”

Logo:  KidsReadyNC

KidsReadyNC Participants Reflect on Initiative Impact

After reviewing community applications submitted from Murphy to Manteo, four KidsReadyNC partner communities have been selected to participate in IEI’s new, 18-month initiative designed to help selected Tier 1 or Tier 2 communities strengthen leadership capacity within their local early childhood development systems:

  • Catawba (Catawba Partnership for Children)
  • Chowan (Chowan CARES)
  • Randolph (Inspired Randolph Collaborative)
  • Rockingham (Rockingham Partnership for Children)

Funded in part by grants from The Belk Foundation and The Duke Endowment, selected communities will receive tools and technical assistance, and will participate in a peer-learning process all designed to boost capacity and improve outcomes for children and families.

In partnership with the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute (FPG), the initiative builds upon the “kidonomics” theme featured at the 2018 Emerging Issues Forum. Communities will select one of seven “measures of success” identified by NC Pathways to Grade-Level Reading (“Pathways”) stakeholders as priorities for action.

Why KidsReadyNC?

KidsReadyNC aims to bring together enthusiastic, multi-stakeholder teams from the state’s Tier 1 and 2 counties who are not currently engaged in significant new efforts but are interested in committing to improvement in the health and development outcomes of their young children. While there are several important, inspirational, resource-intensive efforts already underway in the state’s urban centers, such as Forsyth County’s Great Expectations and Project Impact, East Durham Children’s Initiative, Guilford County’s Ready for School, Ready for Life and Read Charlotte among others—these efforts enjoy significant levels of identified funding and other resources many communities may lack.

KidsReadyNC pilots an early childhood system capacity-building model delivering state-of-the-art technical assistance with a more modest funding commitment from the community and outside funders. It is a lower-cost model designed to produce positive outcomes for the participating communities while creating strategies and successes that other similar communities can draw upon in the future.

Benefits for Participating PARTNER Communities

The benefits of participation are several.

  • Knowledge Expansion: Participating communities will access the most current research and expertise around key drivers of third grade reading proficiency, early childhood financing, institutional improvement, effective data use, and other relevant domains.
  • Improved System Planning: Each community will develop a comprehensive, data-informed action plan informed by technical assistance and the community’s unique environment.
  • Improved System Performance: In the last six months of the KidsReadyNC process, communities will begin implementation of their plan. Depending on the specifics of each initiative, a community may show improvement in program and system components and tangible improvement in the quality of relevant delivered services.
  • Valuable New Relationships: Through the technical assistance process and semi-annual meetings, each community will develop and deepen relationships within its early childhood network (e.g., to stakeholders, resource holders, organizations, advocates). Participation in the initiative will include a peer-learning component to provide mutual learning and support.
  • A Model for Other Lower-Resourced Communities: This initiative intentionally engages lower-resourced communities to pilot an approach we expect will prove valuable in helping similar communities across the state.
The kidsreadync team

The Institute for Emerging Issues is the lead organizing partner of the KidsReadyNC initiative. Technical assistance providers and their areas of focus are:

  • Janice Gruendel, Ph.D., M.Ed., Senior Fellow, Institute for Child Success and Fellow, Zigler Center in Child Development, Yale University
    • Janice will help each community to: build a well-functioning project leadership team; identify and engage stakeholders outside the leadership team in support of the effort; and, related, communicate the team’s work to the community (and beyond, as needed).
  • Laura Louison and Oscar Fleming, National Implementation Research Network, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute
    • Laura and Oscar will help each community to apply best practices to program selection and implementation. Communities will: explore need; identify implementation priorities; develop strategies to strengthen infrastructure; and use data for improvement.
  • Elizabeth Gaines and Alicia Wilson-Ahlstrom, The Forum for Youth Investment
    • Elizabeth and Alicia will work with each community on “fiscal mapping,” a process that allows each community to better understand the amount and nature of funding being directed at all early childhood services and supports, including those related to its chosen measure of success. This process establishes a baseline of investments available. It can illuminate gaps, opportunities and inequities by clarifying where all early childhood development funds are and are not being invested.

Please direct any question about this initiative to:

Patrick Cronin
Assistant Director for Policy and Programs
Institute for Emerging Issues, NC State University | 919-513-3540

Special thanks to The Belk Foundation and The Duke Endowment for their support of  KidsReadyNC.