28. October 2011 08:29
Little People Day Care Center, a high-quality child care center in Durham, hosted a community open house on Monday, October 24 to showcase the center’s new outdoor learning environment. The playground renovations are part of NC State’s Natural Learning Initiative in participation with the Durham Early Head Start (EHS) Program.
The purpose of the Natural Learning Initiative is to promote the importance of the natural environment in the daily experience of all children, primarily through environmental design. The newly renovated outdoor learning environment at Little People Day Care Center is designed specifically for infants and toddlers and is one of four planned projects in Durham this fall. The ribbon cutting ceremony for the playground at Early Start Academy will be held on Saturday, November 5th from 10 am to 2 pm. There will be pony rides, a moon bounce, zumba, games, and refreshments to celebrate the grand opening.
Durham EHS is a free, comprehensive child development and family support program for low-income families with children aged birth to three years old and to pregnant women. It is a collaboration between Durham’s Partnership for Children, Chapel Hill Training-Outreach Project and Healthy Families Durham.
27. October 2011 11:08
Preschool and kindergarten teachers were brought together during a Teachers Talk forum held in mid-October to discuss children’s school readiness. Organized periodically by Durham County’s Transition to Kindergarten Initiative, a collaborative effort between Durham’s Partnership for Children and Durham Public Schools, the event’s objectives were to encourage conversation around educators’ expectations for preparing children to enter kindergarten, the effectiveness of the current strategies, and possible improvements to the system. The forum, which receives support from the Morgan Creek Foundation, provides educators an opportunity to share ideas and is facilitated by DPS and Partnership staff.
One of the highlights of the forum is to address the most prominent challenges and barriers to kindergarten readiness in Durham County. During small group facilitated discussions, suggestions were made that represent the personal experiences of Durham County educators and early child professionals.
Some of the strategies that resulted from these discussions include:
- continued and increased collaboration between kindergarten and pre-k teachers
- improved communication to parents about kindergarten registration
- joint trainings for teachers on pre-k and kindergarten standards and curriculum
- creation of a pre-k/kindergarten educator list serve or blog to assist in direct and ongoing communication
This platform for sharing information serves as a framework aimed at improving Durham’s school readiness programs for our community’s youngest learners.
26. October 2011 14:45
In less than two weeks on Election Day (November 8th), Durham County voters will have the opportunity to consider a quarter-cent sales tax that would provide an estimated $9 million addition per year to Durham County’s investment in public education. Partnership Board Chair Bill Bryant authored a guest column published in today’s Herald-Sun, “Helping Durham County students – from birth to college,” that speaks to this vote. Bill urges voters to go to the polls on Nov. 8th and express their views.
NOTE: The ballot will specifically ask voters to approve: “Local sales and use tax at the rate of one-quarter percent in addition to all other State and local sales and use taxes.”
Please urge supporters to join the referendum page on Facebook by clicking here.
To view Bill’s column in full, click here.
25. October 2011 09:08
Durham’s Partnership for Children wishes to welcome our newest Board members and officers who were elected to serve for the fiscal year 2011-2012 during our Annual Board Meeting held Thursday, October 20, 2011.
We welcome our new officers:
Bill Bryant, President of Bryant Investment Management Group, LLC, will serve as Board Chair. He has served as Chair of the Community Awareness and Development Committee and the Finance Committee. Bill presently sits on the Finance and Investment Committees.
Anne Karasek, National Technical Assistance Specialist at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, will serve as Board Vice-Chair. She has served on the Partnership Board of Directors and as Co-Chair of the Allocations Committee for the past two years.
Ilene Britt is the Program Director of the Early Childhood Associate program and an Instructor at Durham Technical Community College. She will continue to serve as Secretary. Ilene sits on the School Readiness/More at Four Committee and has served as Secretary since FY 09-10.
Joe Haenn, Ph.D., who joined the Board in 2003 and has served as Chair of the Evaluation Committee, will serve as Treasurer. Joe has advanced degrees in educational research and measurement, evaluation, and statistical analysis. Before retiring in 2010, Joe spent nine years at DPS and was the Senior Consultant for Research & Evaluation at the Office of Early Learning (Dept. of Public Instruction).
We welcome our new board members:
Bob Ashley – Executive Director at Preservation Durham
Derwin Dubose - Constituent Outreach and Assistant Policy Director at the North Carolina Office of the Lieutenant Governor
Patrick Hannah, J.D. – Assistant Vice President and Senior Regional Director at Liberty Mutual
Felecia Little – Acting Head Start Director and Program Operations Manager with Operation Breakthrough Head Start
Gail Perry – Interim Director of Durham County Social Services
Rebecca Reyes – Coordinator for the Latino Health Project at Duke University Hospital
Ashley Taylor – Community Impact Director for the United Way of the Greater Triangle
21. October 2011 13:35
As we unveil our 10-11 Annual Report, which reflects back on our work this past fiscal year achieving outcomes for young children, we want to share our gratitude for the generous support of our volunteers, partners, board members and community-wide advocates.
We would like to give special recognition to those who have provided support to our mission financially. It is through the contributions of our many individual donors, business donors and foundations, including Duke University Doing Good in the Neighborhood, Mary Duke Biddle Foundation, Morgan Creek Foundation, and the Walmart Foundation, that we are able to establish such a strong support network for young children and families in Durham County.
We look forward to another great year of collaboration!
Click here to view the 10-11 Annual Report.
18. October 2011 12:40
The Partnership’s Kate Irish authored a guest column (Obesity prevention: healthy eating habits) in the Schools and More section of today’s Herald-Sun. The feature addresses the nation’s growing obesity epidemic and how in Durham County, one in five low-income children aged 2 to 4 is already obese.
One of the primary goals of the Partnership’s Transition to Kindergarten Initiative, a collaboration with Durham Public Schools (DPS), is to assess incoming kindergarten students on each of the five domains of development in order to develop effective school readiness strategies. The Kindergarten Health Assessment (KHA) Project functions as the health arm in pinpointing those community needs.
The most recent data gathered from the KHA project revealed that nearly 18 percent of children entering kindergarten at DPS in the 2010-2011 school year were either overweight or obese. We know that children perform better academically when they are in optimal health and we also know that children model eating behaviors after parents and caregivers. To help guide those parents and caregivers in building healthy environments for young children, the Partnership and its partners developed an easy-to-use resource of health tips, recommendations and community contacts.
The publication, called Healthy & Ready: Developing healthy habits for young children, can be viewed here.
17. October 2011 09:41
Excerpt from The Durham Herald-Sun, Monday, October 17, 2011
Fund set up in honor of victim
DURHAM – A fund is being set up to honor the life of Delia Allen, who was fatally shot Oct. 8 while waiting for a table at an IHOP restaurant in Durham.
The nonprofit Child Care Services Association in Chapel Hill, where Allen worked to give teachers the skills to help their young students resolve conflicts without violence, is creating the Delia Allen Early Childhood Education Fund on Teaching Non-Violence. The fund will support teachers as they work to find non-violent solutions to conflict in the classroom and help young children develop skills “that will last a lifetime,” according to the association’s president, Sue Russell.
“I just find it extremely ironic that her work was about helping kids in classrooms learn non-violent solutions to their problems, and to prevent kids from growing up without those skills, so they don’t end up doing what the person did who killed Delia,” Russell said.
Allen was shot about 3:25 a.m. by a man who left the restaurant off Guess Road a few minutes earlier after words with two off-duty Durham County sheriff’s deputies working at IHOP. She died a few hours later at Duke University Hospital.
“Delia was a very hard worker and a kind person,” Russell said. “She really believed in the work she was doing, and in helping teachers of young children to grow up with the skills they need to avoid conflict.”
Russell said Allen had worked at the association for six years.
“She was well trained in this work, and was a good observer of young children and of teachers,” Russell said.
“Research shows that behavior problems that begin in early childhood are the single best predictor for many future negative outcomes and that interventions that target self-control are most effective in the early years,” she said.
Allen’s work helped hundreds of children in Durham, she said.
“I think Delia’s life has made the world a less violent place, in the sense that in so many of the classrooms she’s touched, the teachers now have many more skills to help children who are showing challenging behavior,” she said. “It’s kind of like a living legacy.”
Link to story online
14. October 2011 09:16
A community Interfaith Children’s Sabbath service will be held on Sunday, Oct 23, 2011 at 4 pm at the Greater Emmanuel Temple of Grace, located on 2722 E. Main Street in East Durham.
Rev. Laura J. S. Benson, Executive Director of Durham’s Partnership for Children, will deliver the main message with a team of diverse faith representatives presenting other parts of the service. A highlight will be a performance by KidZnotes. Don’t miss a wonderful event to focus on the children of our congregations and communities, coordinated jointly by Durham’s Partnership for Children, End Poverty Durham, & Durham Congregations in Action.
Click here to view the September edition of Congregations & Early Childhood, a monthly newsletter from the Early Childhood Faith Initiative.
12. October 2011 16:38
A new video on business support for early childhood from the Partnership for America's Economic Success was featured earlier this week on the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce blog.
Click here to view the video. Click here to read the post.
10. October 2011 10:24
An early October feature in Time Magazine that reviews the Pew Charitable Trusts report, Transforming Public Education: Pathway to a Pre-K-12 Future, begins with the following words:
Take two kids, one from a low-income family, the other middle class. Let them run around and do little-kid things in their respective homes and then, at age 5, enroll them in kindergarten. Research shows that when the first day of school rolls around, the child from the low-income household will be as many as 1.5 years behind grade level in terms of language and prereading and premath skills. The middle-class kid will be as many as 1.5 years ahead. This means that, by the time these two 5-year-olds start school, the achievement gap between them is already as great as three years. (Rethinking Pre-K: 5 Ways to Fix Preschool, Kayla Webley)
If it is so blatantly obvious that children start kindergarten academically and socially behind their peers because of poor financial circumstances and lack of high-quality preschool, then why isn’t early childhood education guaranteed for all children?
North Carolina has long been a champion of high-quality pre-kindergarten education funding. Yet, the waitlists for these vital programs are long – and growing. Every year advocates have to fight for continued funding to support these programs.
The problem, according to Michele Palermo, coordinator of early-childhood initiatives at the Rhode Island Department of Education, is that decision makers still aren’t completely convinced that high-quality pre-k is necessary for all students – only for some.
So what happens to those students who aren’t fortunate enough to receive that first, pre-kindergarten year of vital education and preparation?
In North Carolina, results from a Duke University study released earlier this year show that third-graders have higher standardized reading and math scores and lower special education placement rates in counties that had received more funding for Smart Start and More at Four when those children were younger. The research concluded that positive impact was greater in counties that had received higher allocations for Smart Start and More at Four.
Research tells us that not investing in early education is the equivalent of not investing in entire counties, entire communities.