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March 4, 2016

2016 Is an Opportunity to Build Upon Lessons Learned in Manatee County

The new year brings with it the sense of accomplishment for having started a movement that will change the trajectory for our children; however, it is also an opportunity to build upon lessons learned and insights gained from our initial efforts.

Additional stakeholders who have been involved in the learning process from the beginning are now finding their own ways to support the movement:

  • Manatee County Government is exploring ways to ensure that all of their colleagues are aware of the Vroom app, a free app for parents to encourage turning everyday moments into brain-building moments for children 0-5.
  • Manatee County Libraries will hire a full-time staff member to support the work of the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading in Manatee County in the libraries as well as engaging the community.
  • The Early Learning Coalition has continued to support the Early Learning Community Task Force and look at ways they can mirror the efforts in raising awareness and following up on children whose attendance has been sporadic – setting lifelong patterns at a young age.

These are just a few of the examples of community and organizations taking a hard look at their resources and thinking about how they can invest differently, think differently, act differently for our children.

As a movement, our goal is to continue to look at what our community as a whole is doing to support our children’s success and consider the possibility of doing some things differently for lasting outcomes.

  • 2013 – United Way of Manatee County held Community Conversations and asked more than 400 community members about their aspirations for the community
  • April 2014 – United Way of Manatee County formed a founding partners team with Manatee Community Foundation, Manatee County Public Schools and USF Sarasota-Manatee
  • May 2014 – A steering committee was formed with 40 stakeholders and alignment was formed on bringing the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading to our community
  • June-September 2014 – Our community developed and submitted our Community Solutions Action Plan (CSAP)
  • October 2014 – Annie E. Casey Foundation/National Campaign for Grade-Level Reading approved our CSAP
  • October 2014 – United Way of Manatee County organized a community stakeholders meeting, attended by more than 100 stakeholders, to highlight the goals of the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading in Manatee County and seek engagement
  • January 2015 – Ralph Smith, Managing Director of the national campaign spoke to more than 300 community stakeholders in Sarasota and Manatee at a breakfast hosted by The Patterson Foundation
  • April 2015 – Teams in Manatee and Sarasota, with the leadership of The Patterson Foundation, formed a regional partnership called the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading to maximize impact in our region
  • July 2015 – Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading in Manatee County organized a day-long community stakeholder event (attended by more than 150) around a visit by national campaign consultant Ron Fairchild that included:
    • Life on the Edge ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) Simulation
    • Ron Fairchild, the national campaign’s senior consultant, spoke at lunch about Attendance and adopting a common definition
    • Community stakeholders shared round table discussions with all 15 Title-I elementary schools principals/assistance principals
  • September 2015 – United Way of Manatee County used the Giving Partner profile as a conduit for raising funds, with a 1:1 match raising more than $22,000 for the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading in Manatee County
  • September 2015 – 12 attendance awareness month proclamations presented in Manatee and Sarasota counties
  • September 2015 – Regional poster Contest funded by The Patterson Foundation raises awareness for Every Day Counts attendance campaign
  • October 2015 – Funded by The Patterson Foundation, Hedy Chang from Attendance Works visits our region and presents on the importance of Attendance and how to measure progress
  • January 2016 – Early Literacy Community Task Force Dinner With a Purpose hosted by The Patterson Foundation with more than 300 early-learning providers discussing and strategizing ways to improve attendance and engage families

There is room for all of us. Read more about the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading in Manatee County and join our efforts.

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