“Raising of Fort Worth” Collaborates on Cross-Sector Plan for Early Childhood
What’s it going to take to ensure a quality early education for every child in Fort Worth?
That is the question nearly 200 community members and local leaders from the business, civic, health, education, faith and nonprofit sectors came together to discuss at the last Raising of Fort Worth event on November 18, 2015.
The Raising of Fort Worth is a collaboration of diverse stakeholders who believe a strong beginning for our youngest children (age 0-5) will shape a brighter future for Fort Worth. At its third event of the year, the Raising of Fort Worth enlisted the help of sector advocates to lead the development of action plans to promote quality local early learning.
The Raising of Fort Worth sector advocates included:
- BUSINESS: Todd Ritterbusch, Managing Director, JPMorgan Chase
- EDUCATION: Dr. Mary Patton, Dean, TCU College of Education
- HEALTH: Leslie Casey, Director of Community & Alumni Relations, UNT Health Science Center
- CIVIC: Satoya Williams, Committee Chair, SteerFW
- FAITH: Pastor Charles Robinson, Meadowbrook United Methodist Church
- NONPROFIT: Sadie Funk, Executive Director, First3Years
- PHILANTHROPY: Rose Bradshaw, Exec. Vice President, Community Foundation of North Texas
EVENT AGENDA & SPEAKERS
The one-hour agenda featured the following topics and speakers:
- Welcome, Jacinto “Cinto” Ramos, Board President of Fort Worth ISD
- Video Introduction, Betsy Price, Mayor of the City of Fort Worth
- Acknowledgement of Sector Advocates, Grant Coates, President & CEO of The Miles Foundation
- Success Stories, Nancy Jones, President & CEO of Community Foundation of North Texas
- Early Childhood Framework for Success, Kara Waddell of Child Care Associates
- Breakout Action Plan Discussion by Sector
- Report-Out and Conclusion, Sadie Funk of First3Years
Highlights from the morning’s speakers included the following:
- Jacinto “Cinto” Ramos, Fort Worth ISD Board President, succinctly summarized the importance of an engaged, cross-sector effort in his opening remarks, saying, “It takes all types of partners to build a strong foundation for our children.”
- A video from Mayor Betsy Price underscored the significance of starting this foundation at birth, stating, “A wealth of research demonstrates the importance of early brain development, the effectiveness of implementing best practices in early learning and parent supports, and the cost-effectiveness of investing in early childhood development up front instead of costly interventions later in life.”
- Grant Coates set the objective for the morning, stating, “Today, our goal is to develop a cross-sector action plan that outlines both the roles we will play individually – and the ways in which we can help each other as a collective – in this work to ensure a quality early education for every child in Fort Worth.”
- Nancy Jones outlined the possibilities surrounding “collective impact” in early education, citing examples of success stories including the Strive Together partnership in Cincinnati, the E3 Alliance in Austin, and Commit! In Dallas.
- While introducing various components of a draft framework for early childhood success, Kara Waddell stated, “A family is a child’s first teacher and most powerful advocate. We need strategies that not only engage families, but increase their parental strengths and knowledge while providing them meaningful opportunities for leadership and influence.”
DRAFT FRAMEWORK FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD SUCCESS
The framework for early childhood success, which still remains in a preliminary draft stage, was developed by the Community Foundation of North Texas and was introduced at the November 18th event. Based on research and best practices, it features six key elements for impacting children’s quality early learning and development:
1. Family Leadership & Support
- Support parents and families as a child's first teacher and best advocate.
2. Early Learning
- Strengthen public and private systems of early care and education.
- Create a pipeline for developing early childhood professionals.
3. Health & Wellness
- Support families with health and development interventions that optimize their child's holistic development.
4. Responsive Schools
- Support elementary schools as they move towards providing comprehensive supports to young children and families.
5. Data & Measurement
- Support and sustain the collective processes, measurement reporting systems, and community leadership that enable cross-sector coalitions.
6. Public Awareness & Policy
- Generate public awareness and support to accelerate outcomes for pregnant mothers, infants and toddlers, and their families.
To view the one-pager that illustrates these key investments, click here.
LOCAL SECTOR ACTION PLANS FOR QUALITY EARLY EDUCATION
Based on the above framework, as well as input from sector advocates in advance of the November 18th meeting, community members divided into tables organized by sector to vet actionable steps that will support quality early learning for every child. The current DRAFT of these sector action plans appears below. The action plans will be updated to reflect revisions and input on an ongoing basis.
NOTE: Click on the links below to view/download respective sector action plans.
NEXT STEPS & MORE INFORMATION
If you’d like to be a part of the Raising of Fort Worth effort, we encourage you to:
- Download the DRAFT investment framework for early childhood success from our November 18th Raising of Fort Worth event, and pass it along to three people who might be interested in getting involved in impacting early education in Fort Worth.
- Share your sector’s action plan with colleagues and peers to garner their feedback.
- Sign up to receive communications on key early childhood developments in Fort Worth, upcoming Raising of Fort Worth events and other early childhood news.
- Visit the Raising of Fort Worth website for additional resources and information.
To read the Star-Telegram’s article covering the November Raising of Fort Worth event, click here.
The Raising of Fort Worth is sponsored by The Miles Foundation, with key partners including First3Years, Community Foundation of North Texas, United Way of Tarrant County, Camp Fire First Texas, Educational Alignment for Young Children (EAYC), Child Care Associates, Rainwater Charitable Foundation, The Parenting Center, and Lena Pope.
If you have questions or would like additional information, please email Sara Redington at firstname.lastname@example.org.