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what we do

Initial Scope

Our work is initially focused on families and children, ages pre-natal through third grade, in the Dodgeland School District and the Watertown Unified School District. As success is demonstrated, our scope will expand to include all families and children in Jefferson and Dodge Counties.

Measures of Success

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

  1. All Children Healthy -
    • Strengthen families to reduce child abuse and neglect
    • Increase opportunities for positive social and emotional development
    • Increase community supports to promote resiliency
  2. All Children Ready for Kindergarten - All children have the social and emotional skills needed to succeed in school
  3. All Children Succeed in School - All children reading proficiently by third grade

Resources to Ensure Success

We have engaged 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 using 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. National Council for Behavioral Health's Trauma-Informed, Resilience-Oriented Learning Community - A national effort to support development of communities and organizations that support resiliency
  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 Every Child Thrives
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Action Team Update

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Every Child Thrives is centered on the shared purpose of ensuring all children thrive in health, learning and life. At the heart of Every Child Thrives are three action teams who are committed to the future of our community's children. While each team addresses different priorities, all are driven by the goal that every child will read at grade level by third grade.

The All Children Healthy Action Team is working to prevent child abuse, while increasing opportunities for positive social/emotional development and resiliency. This team works to make sure our community has the resources and supports in place to help families thrive in their role as child's first teacher.

Action Priority #1: All families thrive in their role as a child's first teacher

It takes a village to raise a child. The All Children Healthy action team is working to identify community resources to support families. The team will evaluate impact and pinpoint gaps so all families can access needed services.

The All Children Ready for Kindergarten Action Team is working to ensure all children are physically, academically, socially and emotionally ready for kindergarten.

Action Priority #2: Universal developmental screening

Currently, only about 12% of children with developmental, behavioral or social delays are identified prior to the start of kindergarten, meaning too many children miss out on the early intervention services likely to improve school success. In order to detect potential delays early, Every Child Thrives partners are implementing the Ages and Stages development screening tool in early child care, education and healthcare settings.

The All Children Succeed in School Action Team is working to ensure all children are reading proficiently by third grade.

Action Priority #3: Eliminate chronic absenteeism

In our schools, 30% of students in kindergarten and first grade miss more than nine days of school each year, which greatly impacts school success. This action team will be launching a community-wide school attendance campaign to kick off the 2018/2019 school year. The campaign will use a positive "Strive for Less than Five" message at touch points across the community to encourage families to adopt attendance habits that will promote success in school, and ultimately in the workplace. In addition to the educational campaign, schools will be updating policies and practices to better support families in identifying and working through attendance barriers.

Action Priority #4: Support the social and emotional development of every child

Research shows the link between social and emotional skills and school success is so strong it outweighs both familial background and cognitive abilities as a predictor of first grade academic performance. This action team will lead efforts to help our community understand the lasting impact of toxic stress on social and emotional skills and will help partners identify and implement practices that promote resiliency in youth as well as their caregivers.

Action Priority #5: Wisconsin Reading Corps

Wisconsin children regardless of race and economic category, underperform students nationwide when it comes to reading proficiency, according to new results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress. In Dodge and Jefferson Counties, 39% of third graders read at grade level, while only 24% of economically disadvantaged students read at grade level. Third grade reading proficiently is a key indicator of future academic success, health and economic stability.