Child- and family-service providers from 13 counties from across the state met in their communities in February and March to provide input into the Pathways to Grade Level Reading Initiative (Pathways). They prioritized strategies for action to improve children’s outcomes in three areas that drive early literacy—social-emotional health, high quality early care and education, and regular school attendance. The meetings were the second of two rounds of Community Conversations to inform the Pathways process. The first round of meetings was held in August/September of 2017.
Pathways takes a cross-sector, birth-through-age-eight, whole child approach to improving third grade reading proficiency. A wide range of strategies were prioritized by the local communities. A few examples are:
- Integrate mental health, physical health and primary care, including using patient-centered medical homes.
- Address social-emotional health and social-emotional learning in schools, including building social-emotional skills and capacities of children, parents, teachers, service providers and school leaders.
- Use data to track community needs, available services, and racial disparities in service provision and outcomes, and use the data to adjust provision of services appropriately
- Support specific efforts to recruit, professionally prepare, compensate and retain a well-qualified workforce across multiple birth through eight settings
- Ensure safe and supportive learning environments and positive school climates, including focusing on social-emotional health and learning
- Build a strong screening, assessment, and treatment pipeline for identifying and addressing children’s health and learning issues
- Make high-quality early care and education more affordable for families.
Communities’ recommendations were shared with the Pathways Design Teams, who have taken them into account as they work to prioritize strategies and tactics for action, detail the steps required to achieve those strategies and tactics, and note who would be responsible. The Design Teams are scheduled to finish their work by the end of the summer, and a final Pathways agenda for change will be shared with stakeholders in the early fall. Community providers’ input was a critical piece of the collective process.
Learn more about the conversation.