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.
To date, the All Children Healthy Action Team has trained over 400 TalkReadPlay (TRP) Trusted Messengers, representing 28 Departments/Organizations in Dodge and Jefferson Counties. These Trusted Messengers will expand the reach of the team's TRP brain building campaign by providing a direct connection to parents and caregivers.
Four TRP partner organizations have been selected to receive $1,000 mini grants to become TRP Impact Partners. Over the next few months, the GWCHF will work closely with grantees which include Dodge County Birth to Three, WUSD, Jefferson County Human Services and the Watertown Family Center to set processes in place to operationalize TRP into those organizations.
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.
Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ) screening began last spring for the All Children Ready for Kindergarten Action Team. As a result, approximately 500 children across Dodge and Jefferson counties have been screened. In the upcoming months the team will review the generalized data to determine where gaps in service may exist. This information will set the foundation to respond to the developmental needs of our community's youngest children.
ASQ trainings will continue to be offered to ECT member organizations in support of this ongoing effort.
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.
The “Strive for Less than Five” attendance campaign continues to be the main focus of the All Children Succeed in School Action Team. All six elementary schools in the Dodgeland and Watertown Unified School Districts have attendance teams that meet 1-2xs/month. The attendance teams use data to 1) identify students and families in need of additional support before absences become a problem and 2) work to create a positive school culture around attendance.
The team is currently identifying a process to track root causes of absences in order to find solutions to overcome the biggest barriers to attendance.
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.
Watertown and Dodgeland elementary schools are implementing two evidence-backed programs to promote the social and emotional wellbeing of young children:
Playworks Active Recess which promotes physical activity, problem solving skills and leadership. Schools successfully implementing Playworks have experienced positive gains in school culture and decreases in discipline instances
Second Step Curriculum – a social and emotional learning curriculum that transforms schools into supportive, successful learning environments where children thrive
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.
Douglas school was selected as a pilot site for Wisconsin Reading Corps this school year. Reading Corps is a multi-state AmeriCorps literacy program that helps students become successful readers. Trained AmeriCorps literacy tutors implement research-based literacy interventions with Kindergarten through third grade students who are struggling to meet grade level proficiency.