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August 2, 2016

Celebrating School Readiness Bright Spots

So much happens at the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading that we sometimes have to step back to ask ourselves where we have been, what happened, who and how many did we impact, and what does all of that mean as we move the needle to ensure all children read on grade level by the end of third grade. 

We looked at school readiness, one of the three solution areas of the Campaign, and saw that 300 low-income families in Manatee and Sarasota counties participated in our 12-week Vroom pilot project and 94 percent reported that the Vroom app, which focuses on brain-building strategies for kids from birth to age 5, has helped them develop stronger relationships with their children. As these relationships grew and strengthened, so did the knowledge of the children — helping them get ready to go to school and learn.

Early this summer, we also held a three-day Mind in the Making Facilitator Institute, training 31 individuals in two counties in the science behind Vroom and Mind in the Making. These leaders are now out in the community facilitating workshops for educators, parents, and other caregivers.

We’ve also made progress in helping to align local VPK providers with the school districts where the providers’ students will enroll when it’s time to enter Kindergarten. 

In the Campaign’s early days, dozens of early-childhood educators and elementary school teachers and administrators told us that there was a disconnect. Pre-K children were ready to go to elementary school and the schools were ready to receive them, but a smooth transition and warm hand off from one to the next was often missing. Our efforts continue with passionate commitment from our early childhood and elementary partners.

Next we’ll share updates on attendance and summer learning–the other two solution areas of the campaign. All of the solution areas are supported by parent engagement and health strategies.

Our work is paying off thanks to strong partnerships throughout our community that are based on connecting, collaborating, and creating for greater impact.

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