Smart Start



2013 Ready by 21 National Meeting, March 11-14, Atlanta:

National Leaders Cite United Way of Greater Atlanta and
Ready by 21 Leadership Council Work on Behalf of Youth:



"Youth in greater Atlanta have a brighter outlook on the horizon because of the important work being done by the Ready by 21 Leadership Council and United Way of Greater Atlanta." 



That was the message heard loud and clear by more than 300
community leaders from around the country who attended the Ready by 21 National Meeting, March 11-14, in Atlanta.  Presentations focused on United Way and other leaders who have convened key local education partnerships on behalf of children and youth, age birth to 21.




Among the United Way of Greater Atlanta presenters and panelists at the event were Milton J. Little, President, Etha Henry, Executive Vice President, and Dr. N. Jean Walker, Vice President, Education, who is also co-chair of the national Ready by 21 Leadership Council.  “United Way is an organization that is mobilizing the community’s greatest capacity to do good,” said Little in his remarks.  “We have been able to change the conversation from what is the United Way’s priority to what is the community’s priority.”

The concept of “Ready by 21/all youth ready for college, work and life” was developed by The Forum for Youth Investment, which works with action-oriented community partnerships to improve the quality of programs and policies affecting children and youth.  In greater Atlanta, the Ready by 21 Leadership Council has been active for three years and includes a wide spectrum of community and business leaders involved in such efforts as the Atlanta and statewide Grade-Level Reading Campaign.  Recently joining the Council is Amy Phuong, Chief Service Officer, City of Atlanta, who noted in her greetings to the attendees on behalf of Mayor Kasim Reed that, “United Way of Greater Atlanta has been the key strategic thought leadership partner for grade-level reading in Atlanta.”   

Photos from RB21 National Meeting:







United Way Senior Director, Education/Community Engagement Katrina Mitchell (front, right) discussed the success of the Atlanta Ready by 21 Leadership Council at a panel on national initiatives with (front, left) Lynn Howard, Louisville Mayor’s Office, and (back), Larry Pasti, The Forum for Youth Investment, and Priscilla Little, The Wallace Foundation






United Way professional staff (left) Jilo Tisdale, Senior Director, Community Engagement & Education and (right) Angelle Cooper, Professional Development Manager, Education/Community Engagement, presented on youth-driven spaces with Ravi Ramaswamy and Amanda Sutter of the David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality.



S.O.A.R.S. Summer Reading Program:



In support of the Grade-Level Reading Campaign, a collaborative partnership is supporting Atlanta Public Schools and the geographic area called the "Atlanta Promise Neighborhood."  These partners include United Way of Greater Atlanta, The Atlanta Speech School, Georgia State, and Morehouse School of Medicine.  Focused on one elementary school, this four-week intensive summer learning program, S.O.A.R.S. (Students Optimally Accelerating and Reaching for the Stars), targets students struggling to read on grade-level.  The children are in classrooms with teacher to student ratio of 2:10.  The program includes approximately 80 children and 14 teachers.  The summer learning program will intervene with children who, during the school year, demonstrate that they are not on track to read at grade level



The goals of this program include:



* Training teachers in evidence-based literacy practices, with a focus on

   decoding/word recognition, vocabulary, and oral language and text

   comprehension.

Providing high-quality instruction matched to the needs of the students through  

   analysis of assessment data to preclude summer 
learning loss and advance the 

   learning of a school system's students whose literacy achievement is below grade

   level.




The children and teachers in this program worked hard during their intensive four-week program and we celebrate their accomplishments!  We also want to thank the families that worked equally hard at home by supporting their children's new "vocabulary muscles,"  extending their conversations and oral language skills, and attending our weekly family engagement sessionsOn behalf of United Way and all our partners, thank you to everyone who helped make S.O.A.R.S. a success! 



S.O.A.R.S. Program Brochure



S.O.A.R.S. Family Engagement Flyer



SMART START / EDUCATION TRANSITION

For the past 10 years, United Way has developed and implemented a set of early learning strategies based on community input.  These strategies have proven to be the necessary set of strategies to promote positive outcomes for young children and families and ensure that children have the necessary set of skills and tools to be successful in Kindergarten.

United Way is building on the foundational work of Smart Start, developing a comprehensive plan for education to include strategies that support our goals; children enter school ready to learn, avoid risky behaviors and graduate prepared for careers.

The focus of our work in education is to support all children: ages 0–21 for success in school, work and life.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

From 2008 to 2010, the Early Reading First Symposium was the annual professional development event of Smart Start, the Early Childhood Division of the United Way of Greater Atlanta (United Way).  In 2011, in conjunction with the expanded scope of work of the United Way in the area of education from birth to 21, the fourth annual learning event was re-titled as the Early Literacy Symposium.  In addition to teachers, administrators and project staff participating in its Early Reading First (ERF) projects, (LIGHT FY 2007, APPLE FY 2009), the United Way invited similar professionals in the birth to 3rd grade continuum in metropolitan Atlanta.



In 2012, this outreach was continued and the Fifth Annual Early Literacy Symposium was held March 24, 2012 at the Loundermilk Conference Center in Atlanta, GA.  The program included workshops that served attendees representing birth to 3rd grade - including tracks for teachers in these age ranges:  infant/toddler, ages 3-5, and K-3rd.  There were 16 unique workshops; some sessions were repeated to give attendees more flexibility.



The primary goal of the event was to provide a high-quality professional development experience supporting early childhood and other education professionals in preparing young children to enter kindergarten ready to succeed, and  to be on track to read to learn by 3rd grade.  These objectives are aligned with the United Way education value statement:



United Way believes that we must give our children the tools to:



* Enter school ready to succeed



*  Read proficiently by 4th grade



*  Transition successfully through middle school



*  Graduate high school on time



*  Succeed in college, work, and life



This learning event was also intended to expose pre-school teachers in Metro Atlanta to nationally renowned experts in the field of early language and literacy development, particularly in the context of the theme:  "Journeys in Language and Literacy."  The two keynote presenters, the two plenary session speakers, and all of the 22 workshop presenters expanded on this theme. 



Keynote speakers were:



Earl Martin Phalen, Chief Executive Officer of Reach Out and Read & Founder of Summer Advantage USA



Phyllis C. Hunter
, President, Phyllis C. Hunter Consulting, Inc. and creator of the Phyllis C. Hunter Classroom Libraries



Plenary speakers were:



Laura Justice, Ph.D., Professor in the School of Teaching and Learning, The Ohio State University



Jeanne Davidson Adair, Ed. D
., Research Director and Senior Associate, Focus On Successful Solutions, LLC.



FINAL REPORT 

Nearly 170 attendees participated in the Symposium.  Evaluations of the Symposium were collected on site and a final report was prepared by Care Solutions, Inc., consultant to the United Way.  As a whole, the evaluations were extremely high;  Symposium workshops received uniformly excellent ratings, averaging above 4.9 (on a five point scale ranging from "strongly disagree" at 1 to "strongly agree" at 5) overall.  The rating for the symposium being "valuable to [their] professional growth," and most respondents expressed a desire to attend a similar event in the future.



Early Literacy Symposium 2012 Documents:



"Save the Date"_Early Literacy Symposium 2012_PostCard



Early Literacy Symposium 2012_Final Program_Part I



Early Literacy Symposium 2012_Final Program_Part II





Upcoming Events:



Substitute Teacher Program 
(STP):



$15 CHARGE FOR ATTENDANCE PAYABLE VIA MONEY ORDER ONLY



**PLEASE DO NOT MAKE PAYMENT until you are ACCEPTED and CONFIRMED**



*Payment details will be provided to you in the phone interview if you are selected*



Description of Substitute Teacher Training Program:

This United Way of Greater Atlanta program is a 5-day state approved course specifically designed to instruct adults in how children, birth to five, develop and learn, and how to support their developmental needs in a child care program. United Way graduates understand the needs and environment of child care centers and will provide children with a caring and knowledgeable substitute teacher when their regular teachers are out.



Eligibility Requirements:

Must be18 years of age or older, a minimum of a GED or high school diploma, a clear background history, two good character references, submission of online application and background history consent form, successfully complete a phone interview with program administrator, and successfully complete the 5-day course, and able to keep minimum commitment to substitute teach in early care and education setting of 4 days/month. Work experience with children, infants to five years of age, is a plus.

Substitute Teacher Program (STP) Upcoming Classes:

March 24-28, 2014 

City:  Clarkston

Hours: 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Counties: DeKalb, Fulton

Deadline: March 10, 2014

April 28 - May 2, 2014

City: SUWANEE

Language: SPANISH


Hours: 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Counties: DeKalb, Fulton, Gwinnett

Deadline: April 18, 2014 




April 28 - May 2, 2014 

City:  ATLANTA (Downtown)

Language: English 

Hours: 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Counties:  Clayton, DeKalb, Fulton

Deadline: April 14, 2014



May 12 - 16, 2014

City: 
ALPHARETTA

Hours:  8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Counties:  Fulton, Gwinnett & nearby counties

Deadline:  May 2, 2014



June 2 - 6, 2014


City:  FAYETTEVILLE

Hours: 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Counties:  Fayette, Fulton, Cherokee & nearby counties 

Deadline: May 21, 2014

Out of School Time (O.S.T.) Staff Training - Serving Ages 4-12 in Early Childhood Settings:



Description of Out of School Time Staff Training:  This free United Way of Greater Atlanta program is a 3-day state approved course modeled on the best practices learned from the Early Learning Substitute Teacher Program. It is designed to focus on children, ages four to twelve, and how out of school time staff can, through their understanding of children’s brain and developmental growth stages, support children’s needs in out of school time programs (afterschool, before school, vacation and summer).

Eligibility Qualifications:  18 years of age or older, a minimum of a GED or high school diploma, a clear background history, two good character references (or recommended to attend by sponsoring child care facility), submission of online application and background history consent form prior to deadline, successfully complete a phone interview with program administrator, successfully complete the 3-day course and a commitment to seek out work opportunities in early care and education programs that support children ages 4-12.  Work experience with children 4 years and older, and/or educational credential is a plus.



Upcoming O.S.T. Staff Training Dates / City:

Early Learning Volunteer Support Program:



Description of Early Learning Volunteer Support Program:  This free United Way of Greater Atlanta program is a 3-day state approved course based on the Early Learning Substitute Teacher Program framework and mirrors the first three days of the substitute teacher course. It is designed to provide volunteers with a basic foundation to understand how children, birth to five years of age, develop and learn, and how as a volunteer they can support children’s developmental needs.

The topics include: brain development, child development – ages and stages, theorists of child development, developmentally and culturally appropriate practices, the classroom and learning centers, daily schedules, classroom supervision, and health and safety topics (Child Abuse and Neglect, Infectious Diseases and Health and Safety practices).

Eligibility Requirements: 18 years of age or older, a minimum of a GED or high school diploma, a clear background history, two good character references (or be referred by sponsoring child care program), submission of online application and background history consent form prior to deadline, successfully complete a phone interview with program administrator, successfully complete the 3-day course, and commit to serve as a volunteer in an early care and education setting a minimum of 2 days/month. Work experience with children, infants to five years of age, is a plus. Seeking interested candidates from Clarkston and nearby communities in DeKalb County.



Upcoming E.L. Volunteer Support Training Dates / City:



Thank you so much for your interest in our Substitute Teacher Program!



For more information about the Early Education Substitute Teacher program, please visit our website @  
 
http://www.ecegasubs.org



Additional Smart Start Highlights and Resources:



The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation Speaker Series:

As part of its Better Beginnings program, The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation Speaker Series will host a program on February 28, 2012, featuring new research on brain development. The Speaker Series program, “Breakthrough Research on Building Better Brains,” will feature Dr. Jack Shonkoff, director of Harvard's Center on the Developing Child. Dr. Shonkoff’s revolutionary research reveals that persistent highly adverse experiences – known as “toxic stress” – damage a child’s brain circuits. Children may experience toxic stress when living with physical abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, exposure to violence, severe maternal depression and prolonged economic hardship. These children not only become poor learners; they suffer lifelong negative consequences, such as higher rates of heart disease and substance abuse. In partnership with Child Trends, national, nonprofit research center, dedicated to improving outcomes for children through research to inform policy and practice, the Blank Family Foundation will produce a live webcast of the Speaker Series event beginning at 6 p.m. ET. During the webcast, Child Trends President Carol Emig will use Twitter to highlight key points and resources related to the webcast. Webcast viewers may participate via Twitter using #B25. For information on the webcast, go to http://blankfoundation.org/brain. No registration is needed to view the webcast. Strong Foundations "How-to-Guide" for the #B25 Social Media Campaign 2012



EEC Highlights: 



Early Education Commission Final Recommendations



Atlanta Leaders Announce New Early Education Initiative



Dennis Lockhart, president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, and co-chair of the Early Education Commission, recently presented a speech on February 16th, 2010 to the Atlanta Kiwanas Club stating, "One early sign of success of the Early Education Commission will be when people start saying 'Pre-K through 12' rather than 'K through 12'..."  Please click on link below to view write up of this speech by Maria Saporta from the Atlanta Business Chronicle entitled: "Civic Leaders Working to Improve Early Ed"

• Dennis Lockhart also presented a speech at the Telluride Economic Summit on early childhood investment. Please click on the following link to view this speech entitled: "Early Childhood Education, Economic Development, and the Business Community"

• Additionally, from AJC.com, "Recent 
opinion pieces in The Atlanta Journal Constitution  have focused on how educational improvements can lead to a highly skilled workforce, which has significant implications for the long-term viability of the Atlanta metro region." Please click on the following link to view the most recent EEC op-ed piece in the AJC by Dennis Lockhart & Beverly Tatum entitled: "Atlanta Poised to Lead Early Learning"



PSP Highlights:



Parent Services Project Turns 30!

2010 marks our 30th anniversary—30 years of promoting family engagement and leadership in early childhood, schools and communities across the country.

We began in 1980 with a simple belief: families are the constant for their child in an ever-changing world. And so, we asked, how can we create strong networks of support for all families? We knew it was critical to reach families in places they naturally congregate early childhood programs and schools. That notion was the spark that got us started, and thus began our journey. Thirty years later, amazing things have happened, and our work is more relevant than ever!

Read more



Parent Services Project Winter 2012 E-Newsletter



Additional Resources:



U. S. Department of Education 

President Obama has established a goal that, by 2020, the United States will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world. Meeting this goal is vital to our long-term economic security and to preparing young people and adults to be active citizens. Reaching the President's goal will require comprehensive education reforms from cradle to career, beginning with children at birth, supporting them through high school and post-secondary education, and helping them to succeed as lifelong learners who can adapt to the constant changes in the demands of the global economy. To monitor the Country's progress towards reaching our goal, the U.S. Department of Education presents the United States Education Dashboard. The Dashboard is intended to spur and inform conversations about how to improve educational results. 



United States Education Dashboard



Early Learning and Literacy Newsletter - December 2013



Early Learning and Literacy Newsletter - October 2013



Early Learning and Literacy Newsletter - September 2013

Early Learning and Literacy Newsletter - August 2013



Early Learning and Literacy Newsletter - June 2013



Early Learning and Literacy Newsletter - May 2013



Early Learning and Literacy Newsletter - April 2013



Early Learning and Literacy Newsletter - March 2013



Early Learning and Literacy Newsletter - February 2013



Early Learning and Literacy Newsletter - January 2013



Early Learning and Literacy Newsletter - December 2012



Early Learning and Literacy Newsletter - November 2012



Early Learning and Literacy Newsletter - October 2012



Early Learning and Literacy Newsletter - September 2012



Early Learning and Literacy Newsletter - August 2012



Early Learning and Literacy Newsletter - July 2012



Early Learning and Literacy Newsletter - May 2012



Early Learning and Literacy Newsletter - April 2012



Early Learning and Literacy Newsletter - March 2012



Early Learning and Literacy Newsletter - January 2012



Early Learning and Literacy Newsletter - Winter 2011



Early Learning and Literacy Newsletter - August 2010



Early Learning and Literacy Newsletter - June / July 2010



Early Learning and Literacy Newsletter - May 2010



Early Learning and Literacy Newsletter - April 2010



Early Learning and Literacy Newsletter - March 2010



Early Learning and Literacy Newsletter - February 2010