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Health's importance in reaching third-grade achievement

CI PolicyBrief Health1 2016 webpages Page 1Children’s Institute releases its latest policy brief about the importance of early childhood health and development in improving school readiness and building a foundation for third-grade achievement. When children aren’t healthy, they have difficulty learning. Children’s Institute champions early investment in low-income children and children of color as a way to improve lifelong health and education success.

We hope this report inspires leaders and partners who share our vision of giving more children a strong start in life to join us in calling for ongoing investment in good health and strong families.

Read the report

Forty-Six New Communities Join Nationwide Movement to Boost Early Reading Proficiency

glr national site

Forty-six new communities, including West Medford, OR, have joined the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, a nationwide movement to increase early reading proficiency. 

Read the press release here.  

Governor Brown's Budget Must Protect and Increase Funding for Early Childhood

For Immediate ReleaseCI logo for news

December 1, 2016

Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Director of Communications, 503.219.9034

Download this press release

Children’s Institute commends Governor Brown for her commitment to early childhood and holding early childhood programs harmless in her budget. However, Oregon has the 3rd worst graduation rate in the nation and this will not change until more children arrive to kindergarten prepared for school success.

Investments in young children and their families are the most cost-effective strategies to improve long-term outcomes for children. Disparities in early experiences can lead to significant differences by kindergarten. Kids who aren’t ready for school fall behind by third grade, and reading proficiency at the end of third grade is an important predictor of high school graduation. Programs like Early Intervention save the state millions of dollars annually by reducing the need for special education spending in kindergarten. In 2014-2015, more than 21 percent of children who used Early Intervention services had caught up with their peers and did not require Early Childhood Special Education.

Even with Governor Brown’s leadership, 30,000 low-income children still lack access to high-quality preschool. When the most vulnerable young children do not receive high-quality early education, they are 25 percent more likely to drop out of high school, 50 percent more likely to need special education intervention, and 60 percent less likely to attend college.

With budget pressures facing our state now and for the foreseeable future, we cannot afford to simply maintain funding levels for the programs and services that are proven to both deliver results for our kids now and save money in the long-term. Currently, 75 percent of Oregon’s vulnerable children are not being served or not receiving adequate early childhood services. The cost of not investing wisely in young children is continued abysmal graduation rates, lost opportunities, squandered potential, and rising costs for social services.

Children’s Institute strongly encourages state legislators to protect and increase wise investments in early childhood education and development. From Astoria to Yoncalla, Burns to Klamath Falls, Oregon’s most vulnerable children benefit from high-quality early childhood programs and services. We call on Oregon’s lawmakers to continue to prioritize these cost-effective, high impact investments.


Children’s Institute is one of Oregon’s leading voices for increased public investment in high-quality early childhood education and healthy development, the most cost-effective strategies to improve long-term outcomes for children.

Hiring: Early Works Site Liaison - Earl Boyles

Job Description: Early Works Site Liaison – Earl BoylesCI logo for news


Title:                     Early Works Site Liaison – Earl Boyles                      

Reports to:           Director of Policy & Program

Location:              Generally 3 days a week at Earl Boyles Elementary, SE Portland and 2 days a week at Children’s Institute office, downtown Portland

Closing:                Open until filled

Email résumé and cover letter to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  with Early Works Site Liaison – Earl Boyles in the subject line.

Organizational Mission

Children’s Institute envisions an Oregon where every child is prepared for success in school and life. To meet this goal, we advocate for strategic investments in high-quality early childhood education and healthy development (beginning with maternal care), the most cost-effective strategies to improve long-term outcomes for children.

Children experience their most profound cognitive, social, and emotional growth in the first eight years of life. The quality of children’s early experiences during this crucial period of brain development sets the foundation for all future learning. Research shows low-income children and children of color are least likely to get the high-quality early education and developmental support all children need. That’s why Children’s Institute champions early investments in kids and families to boost education, health, and socioeconomic outcomes for all of Oregon’s children.

Position Description

The Early Works initiative is coordinated by the Children’s Institute in partnership with two school districts. Early Works brings together parents, schools, and partners to meet the needs of children from birth through 3rd grade and to inform public policy on early learning. Early Works has two sites – Earl Boyles Elementary in Southeast Portland and Yoncalla Elementary in Southern Oregon. The Early Works Site Liaisons, employees of Children’s Institute, play a key role in ensuring the success of the Early Works initiative. The Early Works Site Liaison at Earl Boyles is responsible for bringing community partners together to identify opportunities to improve kindergarten readiness and improve reading proficiency by the end of 3rd grade. The Early Works Site Liaison is a key partner to the principal and school staff. S/he will convene and facilitate meetings with partners, act as a resource for best practices in early childhood, and support planning and action.

The Early Works Site Liaison must understand and support Children’s Institute’s mission, vision, and values, and clearly articulate the organization’s role in practice and state policy. S/he will have a passion for and commitment to innovative work and continuous learning that will benefit children. S/he will work closely with Children’s Institute staff and partners to ensure the experience at Earl Boyles Early Works serves as a bridge between the daily practice of coordinating services for children in a diverse, urban community with policy development in the region and state. 

Essential Functions and Responsibilities

Program Management

The Early Works Site Liaison will provide overall project management and coordination. The Site Liaison will work closely with Earl Boyles staff, parents, David Douglas School District, and partners to support the vision and implementation of the project. Duties include:

  • Building relationships with and developing an understanding of the Earl Boyles community, families, and partners engaged in Early Works.
  • Working with a Portland State University evaluation team to provide feedback and input on processes and deliverables. This work will include providing help to translate data and findings to inform local decisions and practices.
  • Providing technical assistance and leadership support to the school principal, district superintendent, key staff, and community partners in the development and implementation of the program model to ensure the program design has research backing and fits the needs of the specific community.
  • Staying connected to the work of Early Learning Multnomah (the local Early Learning Hub) to ensure alignment and sharing of best practice and learning.
  • Collaborate with Children’s Institute’s Senior Research & Policy Advisor to develop an evaluation plan which ensures alignment with the program design.
  • Collaborate with the Program Team to identify key program design elements and the research base for family engagement, early learning, and health for children birth to 3rd grade.
  • Proactively maintain clear and frequent communication about the Early Works sites with Children’s Institute Director of Policy & Program and other Children’s Institute staff, project partners, community members, and funders as appropriate.
  • Support development team on grant proposals. 

Engagement and Communication

The Early Works Site Liaison will seek opportunities to build and support sustainable parent and community leadership at Earl Boyles. S/he will support Children’s Institute staff and consultants on communications, research, and policy opportunities emerging from the Early Works site. Duties include:

  • Connecting with the Early Works Site Liaison in Yoncalla to facilitate sharing and learning across both sites.
  • Creating opportunities for self-reflection activities in which lessons learned are documented and progress is appropriately and adequately tracked.
  • Convening and facilitating workgroups, networking, and engaging with a wide range of stakeholders and partners.
  • Facilitating effective communication between Children’s Institute, Earl Boyles, Early Works partners, and the community. 
  • Working with Children’s Institute staff and consultants on communications efforts for Early Works sites including drafting blogs posts, one-pagers, process documents, etc.
  • Developing materials for internal communications (e.g., for board meetings, strategic planning). 

Recommended Skills and Experience

  • Demonstrated experience in the development and implementation of research-based birth to 3rd grade programming.
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced and deadline driven environment with a small staff and willingness to work as a team on projects of various sizes.
  • Friendly and flexible person with strong interpersonal skills who is interested in working collaboratively and effectively with a wide range of constituencies from parents to policy-makers.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills. Ability to communicate information across diverse audiences on the practice and policy elements of early childhood education, health, and K-12 education.
  • Strategic thinker and doer.
  • Background and understanding of policy analysis and development, specifically knowledge of early learning and related child advocacy issues.
  • Fluency in English and a commonly spoken language in the Earl Boyles community required – Spanish, Vietnamese, Mandarin, and/or Cantonese.
  • Bachelor’s degree and experience in K-12 education a plus. 

Salary & Benefits

  • Salary range $45,000 - $60,000 dependent on experience
  • Paid medical/dental coverage
  • Paid Short Term Disability coverage
  • 401(k) Retirement Savings Plan with qualified match and contribution
  • 125 Flexible Benefits Plan
  • Generous paid time off, sick leave, and holidays

Children’s Institute is an equal opportunity employer committed to an inclusive and multicultural work environment. People of color, women, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ candidates are encouraged to apply. If you need accommodations to participate in our process, please let us know.

Happy summer learning day!

group reading Lane
Kids in Lane County participate in Summer Reading Spots.
Today is National Summer Learning Day! Here are some updates on what Oregon’s Campaign for Grade-Level Reading communities are doing to keep families and students engaged throughout the summer.

In Yoncalla, Early Works is partnering with the local library to supplement their summer reading program, which targets kids age birth to five and their parents. North Douglas P-3 Alignment (?) is also offering summer Play to Learn Community Playgroups – providing the community with activities like free swimming, summer learning activities, free books and early literacy activities.

In Lane County, 12 school districts are offering the Kids in Transition to School (KITS) Program, designed to provide a boost to children’s literacy, numeracy, self-regulation, and social skills just prior to kindergarten entry. KITS also supports families through the transition to kindergarten, sharing successful strategies for encouraging their young learners. The United Way of Lane County is also organizing a volunteer project called Summer Reading Spots to provide literacy-building reading experiences for young children and to encourage parents to actively participate in reading with their kids. Volunteer readers spend one hour in the park reading with children, three days a week. Each time a child attends, they are given a free book to take home with them so that they can begin their own library at home.

This summer Earl Boyles Elementary is hosting an early kinder transitions program for students and families, summer school with an enhanced reading program for rising second and third graders, a weekly food pantry, and housing justice leadership trainings for parents of color.

kids playing Wallowa
Children playing during a summer activity in Wallowa.
In Wallowa County, the non-profit Building Health Families is hosting a Day of Summer Learning Celebration. The open house is providing a number of activities in science, art, reading and more. There are six partners coming to do activities with kids, and healthy snacks, take-home ideas, and prizes will be provided to all participants.

The newest Oregon GLR community, West Medford, is supporting an eight-week Read and Feed program at two food sites this summer. Kids Unlimited camp counselors read at lunch time to the kindergarten population as well as anyone from the community who would like to join. Each site has been provided 25 books to take home after the program. West Medford is also hosting a gently used book giveaway at their local (very popular) pool, and is continuing their food bank on Tuesday mornings for families.

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