29. April 2013 15:05
ReadyNation has just released a new report, "Championing Success: Business Organizations for Early Childhood Investments," in partnership with the American Chamber of Commerce Executives that examines business support of early childhood programs in the U.S.
Findings from the report show that since 2007, at least one state chamber of commerce, large city chamber, or state business roundtable in 44 states has publicly supported early childhood policy or program initiatives. Overall, the report revealed that business organizations in nearly all states (49 states) have championed early childhood investments in a variety of ways: making it part of their policy agenda, drafting media pieces, giving legislative testimony, and supporting specific early childhood programs.
We are proud that North Carolina is one of those invested states and that Durham is a community that prioritizes early childhood. The Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce has vocalized continued support for early childhood issues including maintaining funding to high-quality early care and education programs and child care subsidies to encourage parents’ ability to work.
Investments in early childhood are critical for helping children start down the path toward school success and productive adulthood, for promoting child and family well-being, and for building a vibrant Durham community.
» To read the new ReadyNation report in full, click here.
26. March 2013 11:59
As a valued reader of the Partnership blog, your opinion is critical to us here at Durham's Partnership for Children. We have just released a brief, 10-question survey about our social media work. Please take less than 5 minutes to complete this survey, which will guide us in evaluating how we communicate with you. Your responses will be completely anonymous.
We request that the survey be completed by Tuesday, April 9th. Thank you in advance for providing your valuable feedback!
8. February 2013 10:24
In our last feature on the Partnership blog, we focused on the importance of evaluating our work. We talked about the steps we take in the evaluation process and who is involved. We also shared our FY11-12 Program Evaluation Report. This report provides an overview of community level and program level impacts from all of the Partnership’s programs: Smart Start, NC Pre-K, Early Head Start, Faith Initiative, and Transition to Kindergarten Initiative.
Below are some key findings – taken directly from the Evaluation Report – that showcase the great work accomplished by our Smart Start funded partners. (Note: These findings are just one piece of the work highlighted in the full report, which outlines all of our programming areas).
- 88% of school readiness outcomes were achieved or exceeded by Smart Start programs, up from 81% the previous year.
- While Partnership programs are showing successful outcomes for children and families in Durham, these programs are serving fewer children, families and child care facilities than in prior years as a result of reduced funding. Partnership programs reached 20 fewer child care facilities in FY11-12 than the prior year and this resulted in 443 fewer children benefitting from these services.
- While Partnership programs were able to reach 76% of children enrolled in licensed child care facilities in FY 11-12, children in child care represent about one-third of the total birth to 5 population in Durham. More than 15,000 children are not enrolled in licensed child care programs, and an additional 2,693 are not enrolled in high-quality (4- or 5-star) care, indicating that almost 75% of children in Durham may be in need of additional services to prepare them for kindergarten.
The report sheds light on two critical things: 1) Our Smart Start funded programs are achieving at a high level, and 2) Due to lack of funding, the impact on the community is not as great as it could be if we were able to reach more children and families.
Durham’s Partnership for Children’s funding has been declining in recent years, while the early childhood population in Durham is growing.
- Smart Start funding is at its lowest level in 12 years. In Durham, current funding is almost 50% lower than in 2000. ($5.84 Million, down from $10.92 Million)
- Meanwhile, there has been a 25% increase in the birth to 5 population between 2000 and 2012. (24,793 children, up from 18,613)
- As a result, Durham County currently receives $351 less funding per capita than in 2000.
With another year of strong evaluation work behind us our focus is sharpened. Evaluation results reinforce the continued need for additional public and private funding that will increase access to high-quality early education and support services for Durham’s youngest children and their families. What could we accomplish for young children and families if we had more to invest?
5. February 2013 14:29
As reflected in our mission statement, the Partnership supports high-quality, evidence-based early childhood programming for young children and their families through programs rooted in the Durham community, ensuring that every child enters school ready to succeed. This requires that we are committed to seeding, delivering, and evaluating critical programming for Durham’s young children, birth to age 5, and their families.
Each year the Partnership evaluates the programs we fund to measure impact, track community indicators and needs, and report to our Board of Directors and stakeholders on how we (and our community partners) are doing in our efforts to prepare all children for school.
Evaluating the work of funded programs
Partnership staff works with funded programs to develop logic models with projected services, outputs and outcomes which provide the evaluation plan for the fiscal year. Quarterly, mid-year and year-end reporting provides results based on goals set in logic models. Much of this information is showcased in our FY11-12 Program Evaluation report, which provides an overview of community level and program level impacts from all of the Partnership’s programs: Smart Start, NC Pre-K, Early Head Start, Faith Initiative, and Transition to Kindergarten Initiative.
Accountability to Evaluation Committee
In addition to staff, the Partnership’s Evaluation Committee plays a key role in strengthening the quality of data available to inform programming decisions. The committee of experts from the Durham community meets quarterly and provides input on evaluation methods, survey tools, and early childhood data sources. The goal of the committee is to develop a common understanding of community outcomes and indicators, and to ensure that meaningful data is collected to inform the Partnership’s work towards positive outcomes for young children in Durham.
Evaluating from the ground up
Building a strong foundation is something we in the early childhood community consider a necessity – both for our young children and for our evaluation efforts. It is particularly critical to build strong evaluation methods into program activities during the early stages of program development and implementation. Most recently, the Evaluation committee provided input on the Transition to Kindergarten logic model, and recommended ways to obtain the most significant data about how transition activities help to prepare children for Kindergarten and beyond. And last year, the committee reviewed a draft logic model for Durham’s Early Head Start program. The Partnership will continue to strengthen evaluation methods for its initiatives with the goal of having increasingly robust data about the efficacy of programs to share with our stakeholders.
» Click to view the FY11-12 Program Evaluation Report in full.
» Click to view the Smart Start Program Profiles.
27. November 2012 14:26
According to the 2012 North Carolina Child Health Report Card – issued annually by Action for Children North Carolina and the North Carolina Institute of Medicine – our state’s future prosperity is shaped by children's health status, as well as social factors such as where they live, learn, and grow.
"When children grow up healthy, safe and connected to resources that enable them to thrive, they are more likely to find gainful employment, have stable families, and be active and productive members of their communities," said Deborah Bryan, President & CEO of Action for Children North Carolina, in a press release on Monday.
The report highlights critical statistics such as the state’s graduation rate at 80 percent and the NC poverty rate for children under age five at 30.3 percent. Additionally, it explores the relationship between things like income, access to health care, educational achievement, neighborhood quality, and environment and children's health outcomes. Research shows that such social determinants of health are especially influential for young children because they shape early child development and affect later opportunities for health.
» To access the report in full, click here.
29. October 2012 10:34
Each October the Partnership releases our Annual Report, which documents the successes of our funded programs, community initiatives and public outreach efforts. The report shifts the spotlight to our dedicated volunteers and contributors who take our work to the next level by helping the Partnership’s vision come alive. With the release of our Annual Report comes the opportunity to showcase our accomplishments and recognize those who make our mission possible; but, as this piece informs on our work, it also tells a story of what work is left to undertake.
Throughout its pages, the Annual Report asks, Are you in? Informed. Involved. Invested. We want to inform of our outcomes and community needs. There are only 2,000 days between the time a baby is born and when that child begins kindergarten. We want to rally support and involvement around building a strong foundation for Durham’s youngest children during those 2,000 days. We want to communicate that there is up to $9 return for every dollar invested in early childhood programs, and that investments of time and talent are just as valuable. To invest in a child’s first 2,000 days is to have a lasting impact on how that child will learn and succeed.
To view the 2011-2012 Annual Report online, click here.
To request a hard copy, please contact Melanie Busbee at email@example.com or (919) 403-6960 ext 221.
30. August 2012 16:39
Featured in the summer issue of Milestones magazine, a publication of the North Carolina Association for the Education of Young Children (NCAEYC), is a story that highlights the significance of the Durham Directors Leadership Academy.
As a valuable resource for enhancing leadership skills, the Durham Directors Leadership Academy provides in-depth training and support for new directors of child care facilities seeking opportunities for professional growth in their role as administrators. The Durham Directors Leadership Academy is a project of Child Care Services Association's Quality Enhancement Program, which is funded through the Partnership.
“Research has taught us that young children need support and guidance from caring, consistent adults,” explained Charlene Daye, Training and Support Director at Child Care Services Association (CCSA). “Turnover in the leadership position of a center can cause instability, stress and lack of direction that impacts the quality of the children’s learning environment. Many new center directors have little business experience and find the transition from a lead teacher to a director difficult. The inability to guide, supervise, and train staff can result in a decrease in quality and increase in staff frustration and turnover.”
Through the Directors Leadership Academy, new directors network with other early childhood professionals to create more meaningful, creative learning environments for young children. NCAEYC services are likewise valuable for professional development as the association represents and unifies professionals who work directly with, or on behalf of, children birth through age eight.
» The 2012 NCAEYC 59th Annual Conference is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 13 - Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012. To learn more or to register, click here.
24. August 2012 12:34
We know that early care and education is responsible for laying the groundwork for Durham County’s future economic success by building a ready workforce. Research shows that high-quality programs prepare young children to succeed in school and become part of tomorrow’s leaders.
But what impact does the early care and education industry have on families’ economic viability? It is an interesting perspective to view early childhood through the lens of working parents who rely on these programs in order to contribute to the workforce and the economy.
According to the Insight Center for Community Economic Development, the early care and education industry statewide generates $1.7 billion annually in gross receipts — more than computer programming, outpatient care, textile mills and more. It also employs nearly 50,000 people — more than the chemical manufacturing industry, nursing care facilities and superstores. Investments in the early care and education industry ripple through communities and are essential to economic development.
The most recent data – from 2011 – shows us the impact of early care and education in Durham County:
- 17,998 children under six live in families where their sole parent or both parents are working.
- Generates more than $63,400,925 in revenue annually.
- Includes 384 licensed child care programs that directly employ 1,952 people.
- Provides safe learning environments for 7,472 young children.
- Provides high-quality child care to 61% of all young children enrolled in child care, increasing their chances of succeeding in kindergarten.
» Read the statewide report from the Insight Center for Community Economic Development.
» View the widget to find out how early childhood education impacts other NC counties.
14. August 2012 10:18
Check out this infographic by the Institute of Medicine: "Obesity: Complex but Conquerable." It illustrates quite dynamically the obesity problem that lays before this nation.
Today’s Herald-Sun featured a guest column by Melanie Busbee (Communications Manager with the Partnership) that focuses on childhood obesity and what parents should expect of high-quality child care centers in regards to health and wellness practices that help prevent this serious problem. As mentioned in the column, nearly 10 percent of infants and toddlers have excess weight and almost a third of children are overweight or obese. Research tells us that excessive weight gain in infants and toddlers is more likely to lead to overweight children. And evidence indicates that for children under the age of six with a high Body Mass Index (BMI), adult obesity is likely to follow.
>> The Herald-Sun guest column can be read in full here.
16. July 2012 15:50
Year-round Durham Public Schools start today, and schools on the traditional calendar start on August 27th. The Partnership’s vision is that every child in Durham is physically, cognitively, and emotionally prepared for this momentous first day of kindergarten. Our collaborative Transition to Kindergarten Initiative with Durham Public Schools provides supports to prepare families and young children as they shift from pre-k classrooms or the home to the elementary classroom.
Hopeful that these young learners are settling comfortably into their new desks eager to absorb knowledge, we want to share the importance of how attendance patterns affect academic outcomes.
According to a 2011 Attendance Works report, “Attendance in Early Elementary Grades,” that questions the role that attendance plays as a predictor of student success, there is a dramatic difference between students who miss less than 4 percent of school days and students who are chronically absent, or miss more than 10 percent of school days.
The difference is seen in third grade performance. Students who miss less than 4 percent of school days across kindergarten and first grade had significantly higher third grade scores on both reading (average of 50 points higher) and math (average of 76 points higher) tests than students who miss school moderately and chronically.
The other consideration in the study was if the association between attendance and later outcomes depend on the readiness skills that students possess when they enter kindergarten. In other words, is the impact of poor attendance different for students who are prepared upon kindergarten entry?
Study results showed that students who had a combination of strong readiness skills in both kindergarten academics (shapes, numbers) and self-regulation (interpersonal skills and a child’s knowledge of their own feelings) were particularly likely to perform well on their third grade tests, and were more than three times as likely to be performing at grade level in reading and math.
But, even children who have strong readiness skills as they enter kindergarten will perform worse by third grade if they are chronically absent from school. School attendance is a key predictor to academic success.
» Click here to download the Attendance Works report, “Attendance in Early Elementary Grades.”
» Click here to learn more about the Partnership's Transition to Kindergarten Initiative.