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Early Works Update, Spring to Summer 2014

 

earlyworks logoEarl Boyles Elementary:
Preschool Planning. Approximately 70 families of 3- and 4-year-old children completed their Earl Boyles preschool application in May. The 90 preschool spots available in the new Early Learning Wing are nearly filled. Educators are excited to be part of building a system at Earl Boyles that seamlessly aligns early childhood with the elementary years. More than 50 candidates applied for the two available preschool teaching positions, and the final teaching team includes a mix of expertise in kindergarten, Head Start, and Early Childhood Special Education.
Family Engagement. The 2013-14 school year focused on making Parents United systems sustainable and building leadership. 2014-15 will focus on increasing birth-to-8 family engagement and health services in the new Earl Boyles Neighborhood Center.
Health. Early Works partners launched a Health Committee this spring and are preparing for a Community Health Assessment. The assessment will ultimately inform the visioning process for the Neighborhood Center, which will open this fall.

 

Yoncalla Elementary:
Building Community. Yoncalla hosted a successful Dr. Seuss night with 327 attendees that had the dual purpose of increasing the number of families that see the school as a place they are welcome and connecting families to needed services. The school hosted a smaller Geography Night in June that drew 100 attendees to involve families in student learning. Local leadership is already planning for the 2014-15 school year.
Family Engagement. The Family Room, located at the school, is open and hosting programs for families. Becca Pope, the AmeriCorps staffer who manages the Family Room, is hosting weekly playgroups for families with children birth to 5, and has had 10 families participate so far. She's also facilitating volunteer opportunities to support the K-3 teachers and bringing in guest speakers for families with small children and K-3 teachers.
Child Care and Early Education. The child care/educator work group has agreed to ensure local preschool and child care providers in Yoncalla receive professional development on child assessments that could inform their work with children.

Early Works Blogs

  • 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.”

    Read more

  • David Douglas Makes Strides for English Language Learners

    David Douglas studentAt the Children’s Institute we are very proud of our colleagues at David Douglas this week. The district was identified on November 5 by the Oregon Department of Education as one of just 8 districts in the state to meet benchmarks for English Language Learners around language proficiency. There are an estimated 70 languages spoken among students at David Douglas.

    Every year Oregon Department of Education releases the Annual Measurable Achievement Objective report which describes the progress districts are making in helping English Language Learners gain proficiency. The state’s goals are determined through work with the federal government and are organized in three categories:

    • Progress of English Language Learners toward learning English
    • Percent of English Language Learners who become proficient in English
    • Progress of English Language Learners in learning academic content

    We have seen first-hand in our work with David Douglas their commitment to engaging families and helping students learn. The Children’s Institute has been partnering with David Douglas for three years on an early learning initiative. Called Early Works, the project is a collaboration with many community partners to leverage public funding and help students arrive at kindergarten ready to learn and go on to meet critical third-grade benchmarks.

    Other school districts meeting all three goals are Cascade, Centennial, Culver, Eagle Point, Hermiston, Lake Oswego, and McMinnville.

    Congratulations and thank you to the educators at David Douglas and across the state who are working to help English Language Learners thrive!

    Read more

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