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Policy Brief: Advancing Birth-to-Third-Grade Success

Campaign policy brief 2015 imageThe Ready for School Leaders’ Panel and the Children’s Institute are poised to make a significant impact for Oregon’s youngest and most vulnerable children in the 2015 Legislative Session. Advancing Birth-to-Third-Grade Success, our 2015 policy brief, makes the case for the critical investments and policy changes in 2015 that are strongly supported by research and support on-track health and development, kindergarten readiness, and third-grade success.

Table Rock solid: Elementary school praised for keeping attendance up

Table-Rock-ElementaryIn today's Mail Tribune, Table Rock Elementary's success around school attendance is featured. You can read more about the school's effective strategies in our new report, Showing Up, Staying In, about tackling chronic absence.

Read the Mail Tribune article

CI Calls for State Action on Chronic Absence

CI Chronic Absence cover jpgeIn its new report “Showing Up, Staying In,” the Children’s Institute calls for swift and meaningful action from the state of Oregon to combat chronic absence in all grades, but in particular the early grades starting with kindergarten. 

As the state prepares to fund full-day kindergarten in 2015, the Children’s Institute has identified chronic absence as a problem that will limit the success of Oregon’s increased investment in kindergarten unless addressed. Research shows that chronic absence in kindergarten is a key predictor of later academic success and high school graduation.

The report, released Dec. 3, 2014, spotlights districts and schools in Oregon with many at-risk students that have succeeded in driving their chronic absence numbers in all grades below state averages.

“We applaud the principals, superintendents and teachers in these districts who have courageously acknowledged chronic absence as a problem in their district and implemented strategies to address it,” says Swati Adarkar, CEO and President of the Children’s Institute. “Oregon needs to learn from these leaders and scale up these proven interventions so that all the children in this state may benefit from them.”

Chronic absence is defined as students missing 10 percent or more of school days for any reason. Oregon’s chronic absence rates are some of the highest in the nation, between 18 percent and 23 percent. Chronic absence has also been shown to have disproportionate effects on the academic success of economically disadvantaged children as well as children of color.

The report makes specific recommendations around chronic absence for the state of Oregon, including calling for the creation of an ongoing, publicly searchable database that measures chronic absence at the school, grade, and district levels. It also calls for professional development for educators around attendance strategies, as well as an investment in increased public awareness around the importance of attendance and its correlation to academic success.

The Children’s Institute also argues that funds such as the Kindergarten Partnership & Innovation Fund should be renewed in order to give schools and community partners a vehicle to work together around solutions to chronic absence.

The report has drawn the attention of national experts on the subject of chronic absence. “This report shares how Oregon can leverage its attendance data and support communities to ensure students are in class every day and that Oregon can make the most of this critical investment in full day kindergarten,” says Hedy Chang, Director of Attendance Works. “The best instruction and curriculum won’t matter much if students aren’t in school to benefit from them.”

Bridging Health Care and Early Education System Transformations to Achieve Kindergarten Readiness in Oregon

BUILD Oregon NASHP Brief CoverOregon has taken significant steps to transform its health care and early education systems. Recognizing that good health is a key component of ensuring children enter school ready to succeed, Oregon is now aligning the two systems with the ultimate goal of improving kindergarten readiness. This report, supported by the Build Initiative, describes Oregon’s approach to aligning its two innovative system transformations and highlights key strategies ­– including joint staffing, blended funding, and shared expectations – to elucidate lessons for policy makers seeking to bridge health care and early education.

View report

Governor’s 2015-2017 Investment Strategy Prioritizes Critical Kindergarten Readiness and Third Grade Reading Benchmarks

CI-logo-for-newsAt the Children’s Institute, we now have one more reason to be hopeful about 2015: the Governor’s 2015-2017 investment strategy allocates $135 million for early learning, with an additional $400 million for full day kindergarten and a third grade reading initiative. Announced at the Oregon Education Investment Board meeting on November 11 and still pending finalization and legislative approval, the Governor’s proposed investments includes the following:

  • $10 million for Home Visiting
  • $15 million for Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education
  • $55 million for Employment Related Daycare
  • $30 million for preschool open to a range of providers and settings
  • $20 million for Early Learning Hubs
  • $5 million for Kindergarten Partnership & Innovation Fund
  • $220 million to implement and operate full-day kindergarten
  • $180 million for PreK-3 literacy initiative

There’s a lot to be excited about with these potential increased investments. Given legislative approval, we are hopeful the Kindergarten Partnership & Innovation Fund will continue to help more communities to connect the early years to the early grades. We also applaud Governor Kitzhaber and his staff for proposing new investments in home visiting and preschool, for working towards the creation of a coordinated early learning system across these investments, and for specifically targeting approaches to increase equity across the budget.

At the Children’s Institute, we know that all of these are critical steps as Oregon works towards closing the achievement gap and helping all children to arrive at kindergarten ready to learn and to go on and achieve success in school, and in life.

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