Smart Start Pre-Conference Attendees Learn How to Create Pathways to Grade-Level Reading in Their Own Communities

Attendees at the 2018 National Smart Start Conference last week had an opportunity to learn about the state-level NC Pathways to Grade-Level Reading initiative and how they could bring the Pathways tools and process home to their own communities.

Nearly 80 advocates and service providers – from NC Smart Start partnerships, other states, and even Canada! – joined NCECF, OpenSource Leadership and McGlynn Leadership to learn how their communities could move to aligned action using the Pathways model. We shared lessons learned and Pathways tools to support communities to:

  • Galvanize cross-systems collaboration.
  • Use the Pathways Measures of Success framework to understand how children and families are doing in their communities, where the biggest inequities lie, and where to move to action first.
  • Develop strategies that focus on research-based policies, practices, and capacity building to make progress.

Tracy Zimmerman, NCECF’s Executive Director, shared why Pathways focuses on third grade reading proficiency, the Pathways process to date, and the Pathways drivers that have been critical for advancing the work.

Kathleen Crabbs and Sterling Freeman from OpenSource Leadership Strategies have been working with Pathways to put a racial equity lens on the work. They took the group through a process to think about why racial equity is an important lens, understand the OpenSource racial equity framework, and practice integrating racial equity into their local work.

In the afternoon, Mandy Ableidinger, Policy & Practice Leader at NCECF, and Tracy facilitated two interactive portions around data use for policy and practice change, and building local partnerships for advancing community collaborative work around early literacy.

The day finished up with Maggie McGlynn of McGlynn Leadership, who has worked with Pathways to hone the facilitation and collaborative processes the initiative has used to bring diverse stakeholders together and come to consensus around how to move forward. Maggie shared the importance of process as a strategy for action and walked participants through using her MAGIC framework to facilitate exciting and effective meetings.

Participants reported that the meeting was worth their time, and that they would take the information back home to their communities to inform their collaborative work.