Efforts toward improving kindergarten readiness are being led by the Children’s Institute through the School Readiness Outcome Team. The team has spent the last quarter reviewing and revising the outcome team’s strategic plan with a re-visioning in the final stages. Key tactics and outcomes have been reviewed and new directions articulated to keep the group’s collective efforts focused on Ready Child, Ready Community, Ready Family, Ready Schools.
As a result of the 5-year strategic planning efforts a new strategy team is emerging and under review to focus on policy and advocacy efforts for early childhood funding, policy asks and related systems level efforts. Members will focus energy on defining a charter, outcomes, and rationale. Two of the existing strategy teams for the School Readiness Outcomes Team, Children Developmentally on Track by Grade 3 (formerly the Curriculum Workgroup) and the Community Providers Network, have recently re-written charters to focus their collective work. The School Readiness Outcome Team has endorsed the work that is closely aligned with the emerging strategic plan. Many of the School Readiness Outcome Team members participated in the Mayor’s Early Childhood Workforce Summit in April 2018 and are pleased about the alignment and shared effort regarding the broad workforce supporting young children and their families.
The group has a fully updated comprehensive Key Performance Indicators chart to continue defining and measuring the collaborative efforts of the School Readiness group and the associated strategy teams.
The team also leads GROW-Rochester, which is working to integrate comprehensive developmental screenings for all of Rochester’s 3 year olds. Children are assessed in seven areas using robust tools: vision, hearing, dental, speech and language, cognitive, fine and gross motor and social and emotional growth. In this first year, GROW successfully screened over 600 children by June 30, 2016. Currently, over 2,700 children have been screened with 10% identifying developmental issues. In addition, the group works to inform community based organizations, government, the faith community, health professionals, and others of the availability of services for young children, ages 0 – 8. Focusing on filling a critical workforce shortage in early childhood, the group is also researching the capacity of WNY colleges to provide needed professionals in key occupations. Finally, this work group reviews and assesses PreK – Grade 3 school curricula. As a result, RCSD has committed to a comprehensive K-2 curriculum rewrite to make it more developmentally appropriate and culturally relevant.