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.
Every Child Thrives will drive long-term change in three areas:
We have engaged best practice resources to guide our work:
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.
Optimal development is achieved when young children participate in consistent, caring, "back and forth" interactions with the trusted adults. In the spring of 2018, this team will launch a community campaign to promote early talking, reading and playing. With a message of TalkReadPlay with your child every day, this campaign will provide parents, families and community organizations with (free) tools to promote optimal development for every child. Learn more about the TalkReadPlay community awareness campaign.
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.
Currently, only about 12% of children with developmental, behavioral or social delays are identified prior to the start 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. Regular screening will also provide opportunities for ongoing parent education and empowerment.
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.
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.