What would be possible if…
- We adopted shared, whole child, birth-to-age-eight measures that put children on a pathway to grade-level reading?
- We coordinated strategies to support children’s optimal development beginning at birth?
- We aligned policies and practices that were rooted in how children develop?
The NC Pathways to Grade-Level Reading (Pathways) initiative is all about possibility. This collaborative of diverse leaders is building on North Carolina’s history of innovation and success to reach for a bold vision:
All North Carolina children, regardless of race, ethnicity or socioeconomic status, are reading on grade-level by the end of third grade, and all children with disabilities achieve expressive and receptive communication skills commensurate with their developmental ages, so that they have the greatest opportunity for life success.
Reading well in the early grades predicts a child’s academic and career success. Research shows that improving third grade reading takes a coordinated birth-through-age-eight approach with aligned policies and practices that focuses on:
- Children’s Health and Development, Beginning at Birth
- Supported and Supportive Families and Communities
- High-Quality Birth-through-Age-Eight Learning Environments, with Regular Attendance
Driving the Pathways initiative is the foundational belief that together we can realize greater outcomes for young children than any of us can produce on our own. Pathways Partners work across disciplines, sectors, systems, and the political aisle.
Together, Pathways created a data framework and a policy framework to help drive action in our state towards grade-level reading for every child. We continue our collaborative work with these tools as our guide and a focus on racial equity:
- Pathways Measures of Success Framework includes more than 60 whole child measures that influence grade-level reading, visualized in the Pathways Data Dashboard.
- Pathways Action Framework includes more than 40 prioritized policy and strategy areas that can help move the needle forward on grade-level reading in NC, particularly for children of color, visualized in the Pathways Action Map
- Pathways Measures of Success Framework
- Pathways Data Dashboard
- NC Early Childhood Data Sources
- NC Early Childhood Data Advisory Council
- Children’s Social-Emotional Health Data Workgroup
- Child Development at Kindergarten Entry Data Workgroup
- State leaders identified shared birth-to-age-eight, whole-child measures of success to put children on a pathway to grade-level reading.
- 95% of stakeholder respondents said they “felt confident that if the state made progress on these measures, we would improve third grade reading outcomes.”
- The NC General Assembly highlighted Pathways in the 2016 and 2017 budgets when it passed and updated provisions calling for greater birth-to-age-eight coordination across agencies and organizations, “including consideration of the NC Pathways to Grade-Level Reading.”
- Collaborative partner organizations have incorporated the Pathways measures into their own data tracking and reporting.
- Local communities across the state are using the Pathways Measures of Success Framework for collaborative community planning—identifying which of the Pathways shared measures to focus on locally and developing strategies for action to improve child and family outcomes.
- The NC Pathways Measures of Success Framework has been shared nationally and is being used by communities in other states as well who are focused on improving outcomes for young children.
- Hundreds of North Carolina leaders worked across sectors, geography, and the political aisle to co-create the NC Pathways to Grade-Level Reading Action Framework, which outlines expectations for the state’s child and family serving systems and actions to support children’s social-emotional health, ensure high quality birth-through-age-eight early learning environments, and create the conditions for every child to be in school every day.
- The Frameworks are informing the development of the state’s Early Childhood Action Plan, as well as serving as a foundation of other state-level early childhood initiatives like the Leandro Commission for Sound, Basic Education, the myFutureNC Commission, and the B-3rd Interagency Council.
- The Pathways Measures of Success Framework has inspired various early childhood data development initiatives in NC, including the NC Early Childhood Data Advisory Council and data workgroup recommendations for measuring social-emotional health and child development at kindergarten entry.
- The Pathways Action Framework’s focus on social-emotional health supported NC Child’s development of the EarlyWell Initiative. Two reports have been published to guide EarlyWell’s work, one focused on listening to family voices and the other summarizing policy and practice recommendations put forward by cross sector workgroups.
- Two online tools have been created to equip NC leaders with the information they need to advance Pathways’ vision: the Pathways Data Dashboard and Pathways Action Map.
What Should We Measure?
In Phase I of Pathways, a Data Action Team identified shared birth-through-age-eight, whole child measures that research has demonstrated can move the needle on third grade reading proficiency to create the Measures of Success Framework. Learn more.
Where Should We Focus?
In Phase II, Learning Teams looked at the NC data around those measures and, based on overall need and equity considerations, recommended a set of measures to move to action on first. Learn more.
What Should We Do?
In Phase III of Pathways, Design Teams co-created the Pathways Action Framework to help North Carolina align around policy, practice and capacity-building strategies that will shift the prioritized measures of success, particularly for children of color. Learn More.
The EarlyWell Initiative releases its policy and practice recommendations in the report titled From Equity to Issue Campaigns: The Next Stop on the Road Map to Childhood Mental Health in North Carolina. NCECF partners closely with NC Child on EarlyWell, which builds on Expectation 4 of the Pathways Action Framework.
Pathways is featured in the North Carolina Medical Journal article Pathways to Grade-Level Reading: A Whole Child Approach to Literacy
The NC Early Childhood Data Advisory Council convenes to share early childhood data updates from state agencies and discuss data development plans for two child care measures.
NCECF partners with NC Child to complete the recommendation development phase of the EarlyWell Initiative. EarlyWell builds on Expectation 4 of the Pathways Action Framework: NC’s social-emotional health system is accessible and high-quality.
The NC Early Childhood Data Advisory Council met to discuss next steps for data development, review data implications of COVID-19, and hear data updates including recent report on Black parent experiences due to COVID-19 and racism.
NCECF releases Lean In & Listen Up: How can we strengthen North Carolina’s early intervention, early childhood, and mental health services? By listening to families. with NC Child as a part of the EarlyWell Initiative.
The NC Early Childhood Data Advisory Council met to hear early childhood data updates and discuss the path forward during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The NC Early Childhood Data Advisory Council met to learn about state and national data projects, hear early childhood data updates, and report on the first two prioritized data development measures.
The NC Early Childhood Data Advisory Council met to hear early childhood data updates from DPI and DHHS and choose two data measures to work on developing.
The Pathways Data Dashboard is released. The interactive dashboard shares disaggregated data on more than 60 whole-child, birth-to-eight measures that matter for third grade reading proficiency.
The Child Development at Kindergarten Entry Data Workgroup and the Children’s Social-Emotional Health Data Workgroup release their recommendations, which will inform Pathways and the NC Early Childhood Action Plan.
The NC Early Childhood Data Advisory Council met to learn and discuss early childhood data updates.
A case study sharing the three-year Pathways to Grade-Level Reading initiative’s process, the products that the stakeholders co-created, and the impacts of the initiative to date, is released. Bridging Sectors to Co-Create NC Pathways to Grade-Level Reading is a resource for local partners and other states who are interested in replicating the Pathways process to convene cross-sector stakeholders around the collaborative goal of improving third-grade reading proficiency.
The Children’s Social-Emotional Health data workgroup is working on recommending a measure or portfolio of measures to capture young children’s social-emotional health and development at the population level.
The NC Early Childhood Data Advisory Council meets for the second time to co-create an early childhood data development strategy for the state.
The Child Development at Kindergarten Entry Data Workgroup is working on recommending a measure or measures to capture children’s development on entering kindergarten at the population level.
The Pathways Action Framework is released.
Pathways Partners meet to endorse the Pathways Action Framework and launch the implementation phase of the Pathways work. Learn more.
Design Team completes draft Pathways Action Framework.
Community Conversations Round 2. The fourteen communities meet again to offer input into which strategies to prioritize. Learn more.
NCECF releases Not About Me, Without Me, synthesizing the voices of more than 2,000 North Carolina parents and identifying themes around what helps and hinders them as they support their young children’s healthy development.
Community Conversations Round 1. Fourteen communities across the state hold meetings with local providers to provide input into the Pathways Design Teams’ areas of focus. Providers share what supports them and what gets in the way of their work to advance the success of children and families. Learn more.
Design Teams focused on children’s social-emotional health, high quality birth-through-age-eight care and education, and regular school attendance to co-create a Pathways Action Framework. The work uses an equity lens, with an explicit, but not exclusive, focus on racial equity. The process incorporates input from families, Design Team experts, local providers of services for children and families, and national research on what moves the needle in the areas of focus, particularly for children of color. Learn more.
Pathways Partners meet to confirm priorities and launch Design Teams. Design Teams are tasked with answering the question, What Should We Do? Learn more.
Learning Teams examine how NC is doing on the measures and recommend where to start. Pathways Partners help determine where there is momentum for action already in NC. Learn more.
Pathways Partners meet to finalize Measures of Success Framework and define Pathways’ theory of change. Learn more.
Data Action Team reviews research and develops Measures of Success Framework. Pathways Partners help define quality and data accessibility, and rank and comment on draft measures. Learn More.
Pathways Partners stakeholder group meets to launch Pathways Initiative. Learn More.
Is your agency, organization or business ready to endorse Pathways? Let us know!
Since 2015, hundreds of North Carolina leaders have worked across sectors, geography, and the political aisle to co-create shared Measures of Success and an Action Framework for North Carolina.
- The Pathways to Grade-Level Reading Measures of Success are research-based, whole-child, birth-through-age-eight measures that can help North Carolina determine if our young children are on the path to early literacy.
- The Pathways to Grade-Level Reading Action Framework provides North Carolina with a path forward on the areas Pathways stakeholders identified for action first—children’s social-emotional health, high quality early care and education, and regular school attendance.
Pathways Partners are endorsing the Frameworks. They recommend that the shared Measures of Success serve as the foundation for building North Carolina’s state and local birth-through-eight system and agree that the actions in the Action Framework, if well-implemented, can improve children’s third grade reading and well-being outcomes.
Bridging Sectors to Co-Create Pathways to Grade-Level Reading
This case study shares the process, products and impact to date of the three-year Pathways to Grade-Level Reading initiative.
Research Basis for Pathways Measures of Success Framework
This resource provides data definitions of the Measures of Success and shares the research for each measure, demonstrating the connections between the measures and third-grade reading proficiency. A list of sources is included for each group of measures.
Pathways Action Framework
Hundreds of North Carolina leaders have worked across sectors, geography, and the political aisle to co-create a blueprint for North Carolina to improve a key developmental milestone for young children—reading on grade-level by the end of third grade. The NC Pathways to Grade-Level Reading Action framework outlines expectations for the state’s child and family serving systems and actions to support children’s social-emotional health, ensure high quality birth-through-age-eight early learning environments, and create the conditions for every child to be in school every day.
What Works for Third Grade Reading
These papers detail why each of 12 Pathways measures matters for third-grade reading, show their connections to other Pathways measures, define relevant terms and offer national research-based options that can impact the measures, including policies, practices, and programs and capacities.