Every Child Thrives logo
Every Child Thrives (ECT) is a collective impact effort uniting community partners in Wisconsin's Dodge and Jefferson Counties. It is centered on the shared purpose of ensuring all children thrive in health, learning and life. Launched in 2017, ECT uses data to drive decisions and align resources to support what works.
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who we are


Every child thrives in health, learning and life.


Engaging business, government, education, families and community partners to ensure that every child thrives.


To fulfill our mission, we hold these five promises to our children (adapted from America's Promise Alliance):

ECT is led by a Transformation Council whose role it is to ensure the effort fulfills its mission. Members are:

Rebecca Bell, Human Services Director

Angie Bolson, YMCA VP of Strategic Initiatives

Jenny Borst, Elementary Teaching and Learning Director

Kathi Cauley, Human Services Director

Tina Crave, Greater Watertown Community Health Foundation President & CEO

Suzanne Hoppe, Renewal Unlimited Executive Director

Jon Lange, YMCA Pabst Farms Chief Executive Officer

Carol Quest, Watertown Department of Public Health Director

Cassandra Schug, Watertown Unified School District Superintendent

Annette Thompson, Dodgeland School District, District Administrator

Mary Ann Weiland, Head Start Director

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ECT is driven by a passionate and committed group of individuals from the following organizations:

Affiliated Counseling Center
American Lung Association
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Dodge County and Watertown Community
Church Health Services, Inc.
Community Care Preschool & Child Care
Community Pediatrics
Dodge County Head Start
Dodge County Human Services & Health Department
Dodgeland School District
Future All*Stars Academy, LLC
Jefferson County - Birth to Three
Jefferson County Head Start
Jefferson County Human Services Dept.
Juneau Police Department
Kiddie Kampus
Maranatha Baptist University
People Against a Violent Environment, Inc.
United Way of Jefferson & North Walworth Counties
University of Wisconsin Extension Program - Dodge County
University of Wisconsin Whitewater
Watertown Area Chamber of Commerce
Watertown Area YMCA
Watertown Daily Times
Watertown Department of Public Health
Watertown Family Center
Watertown Unified School District
Watertown Regional Medical Center
YMCA at Pabst Farms

what we do

Initial Scope

Our work will initially focus on families and children, ages pre-natal through third grade, in the Dodgeland School District and the Watertown Unified School District. Our scope will ultimately expand to include families and children located within the geographic regions of Jefferson and Dodge Counties.

Measures of Success

Every Child Thrives will drive long-term change in three areas:

  1. All Children Healthy - Increase opportunities for positive social and emotional development and community supports to promote resiliency
  2. All Children Ready for Kindergarten - All children are physically, academically, socially, emotionally ready for kindergarten
  3. All Children Succeed in School - All children reading at grade level by third grade

Resources to Ensure Success

We have engaged four best practice resources to guide our work:

  1. Results Based Accountability - A data and results-based process that quickly moves communities from talk to action, with standard language and common sense methods
  2. Campaign for Grade Level Reading - A national network of more than 300 communities working to improve child outcomes as measured through kindergarten readiness and third grade reading proficiency
  3. The Center for Learning Communities - Michael Soika, a founding member and Executive Director of Milwaukee Succeeds, will serve as a consulting facilitator in our early efforts
  4. Backbone Support - The Greater Watertown Community Health Foundation has committed to providing backbone staff for at least five years to facilitate the long-term success of these efforts

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making the case

The foundation for lifelong health and success begins during pregnancy and the earliest years of life, with 90% of brain development occurring over a child's first three years. Secure attachment through responsive, caring interactions with adults is critical for healthy development. The lack of responsive relationships - or the presence of prolonged stress in a young child's life - can have lifelong impacts on cognitive and social growth.

Too many children lack the secure relationships and early learning opportunities necessary for optimal development. In our community:

Roughly one-third of children from economically disadvantaged families are reading at grade-level in third grade.

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Together, we can move the needle on these statistics to ensure that in our community Every Child Thrives

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connecting resources

It Takes a Village

Every child in our community should enjoy the opportunity for optimal success in school, learning and life. We can only make a difference by working together.

Mobilizing Our Community On Behalf of Our Children

Making a difference will require the continued engagement of all community sectors, including schools, government, public health, human services, early child education providers, secondary education providers, non-profits, healthcare, business, law enforcement, faith communities and community volunteers. To effectively unite these sectors, Every Child Thrives has been structured based upon "what's worked" in communities similar to ours. Our initiative includes three actions teams that are supported by a Transformation Council and a Community Leadership Council.

EC Thrives Structure

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