Solutions tailored to local needs….

Findings from the 2017 Cradle to Career Alliance baseline report showed increasingly large disparities for low-income and African American students across each educational milestone, peaking in sixth grade for both English Language Arts and Math by over 50% at Columbia Public Schools. Focusing on prevention, the Alliance made a decision to begin working to address disparities at the Kindergarten Readiness milestone, which fell at nearly 30% by both income and race. In addition to gaps for children entering school our community is experiencing a critical problem with chronic poverty for low-income families, where Columbia, Missouri ranks in the bottom 17% nationally on income mobility.  To design for the highest impact, the C2CA has applied for a planning grant through the Strive Partnership funded by the Ford Foundation and Chan Zuckerburg Initiative.  The Alliance partnership will propose the plan for a Two-Generation and wraparound approach to address our community’s cycle of poverty.

The partnership will work toward two overarching population results: 1) All our children enter school healthy and Kindergarten ready; and 2) All our families are healthy with opportunities to thrive.

We will concentrate on access to quality early childhood education and educational / workforce development with the following target populations

  1. all children attending (or eligible to attend)  low-income serving preschools;
  2. their families; and
  3. preschools serving low-income families.

Project Partners

  • A Way with Words & Numbers
  • Central Missouri Community Action
  • Columbia Housing Authority
  • Columbia Public Schools (Data Services, Elementary Education, Parents as Teachers, Title I)
  • Daniel Boone Regional Library
  • Family Access Center for Excellence
  • First Chance for Children
  • Heart of Missouri United Way
  • HeartSpace
  • Mary Lee Johnson Early Childhood Center
  • Moberly Area Community College
  • Norma Stewart Early Childhood Center
  • University of Missouri College of Education
  • University of Missouri School of Medicine
  • Worley Street Roundtable

Phase I:

  1. Our work will begin by creating a plan for collecting information on the number of low-income children with access to affordable, high quality care. There is a strong likelihood many children do not have access, while their families are concurrently struggling to find care and sustainable employment. These families will  also become part of our target population.
  2. We will also conduct interviews with families regarding workforce and career development needs, along with a scan of current services received and barriers they are experiencing with income mobility.
  3.  Finally, we will vet Quality Rating System criteria with participating preschools to identify where centers serving low-income children are landing related to capacity and quality.

A related goal will be to create a pipeline approach for data and communication between Pre K and K, enabling us to track patterns in student growth earlier. This approach will extend to enrichment activities included in preschool curriculum to ensure consistency with grade school. Currently, no such systems exist.

Phase II

Once baseline data has been collected and reviewed, partners will use results to begin planning a targeted process for providing wraparound support for the children (access to care, social-emotional, health, literacy, math, and the arts); their families (mental health, health, literacy, GED, certification, workforce / career development, and parenting support); as well as centers and staff (organized tutoring / volunteer assistance, resources and professional training aligned to their Quality Rating System survey).

Grant Timeline: (C2CA has been invited to the Conference).

  1. Letter of Intent due December 8:
  2. Communities with approved letters invited to attend Houston Conference, February 1-2
  3. Planning proposals due March 15
  4. $150,000 Awards announced May, 2018 to 10 communities

Wish us luck!


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