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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

  • A Cat in the Hat … and 1,750 books on the shelf

    Dr. Seuss night at Yoncalla ElementaryIn its continuing effort to improve family engagement and promote literacy in the community, Yoncalla Elementary hosted its third annual Dr. Seuss Night on March 5. The event has grown exponentially and Yoncalla families look forward to a fun night for kids and adults.

    The night is a perfect example of the family and community connections that Early Works at Yoncalla Elementary is trying to foster. The people and organizations who are part of the Early Works initiative – the Children's Institute, the Ford Family Foundation and Yoncalla school and school district leaders – all understand that children do better in school when their parents, and their community, are engaged in their learning.

    This year there was an extra reason to celebrate at Dr. Seuss Night. Yoncalla Elementary, along with the B-4 School Community Center (located at the school), participated in a reading challenge during the month leading up to Dr. Seuss Night. Yoncalla Elementary students were challenged to read books or book chapters and parents with children in early childhood programs at the B-4 School Community Center were challenged to read books to their children.

    Reading was tracked on forms that were turned in to Yoncalla's Title I teacher, Shawna Bradley. All totaled, 1,750 books or book chapters were read, far surpassing the last reading challenge total of 1,380. As promised, two special guests were in attendance at Dr. Seuss Night to help celebrate this wonderful accomplishment. Matt Templeman, the news anchor for KEZI-TV in Eugene, along with Olaf, the snowman from the Disney movie Frozen, participated in the evening's festivities.

    Families were treated to games, goodies and arts and crafts. Each classroom in the building was decorated and had activities around specific books by Dr. Seuss. In the school's Early Works Family Room, The Foot Book was the theme and attendees participated in a 'book walk.' Yoncalla Mayor Jerry Cross read several Dr. Seuss stories to a captivated audience.

    Additionally, several social service and family-oriented community providers hosted activities and gave information about resources to families in attendance. In an area where families often report feeling isolated, connecting families to services has become one of the important goals of the evening, and of Early Works in general.

    The Cat in the Hat (also known as Yoncalla Schools Superintendent Jan Zarate) floated through each of the buildings. Meanwhile, Thing One and Thing Two (Yoncalla High School special education teacher Jerry Fauci and Matt Templeman) led bingo, passed out popcorn and posed for pictures. This small town knows how to celebrate reading in a big way! And the Children's Institute loves being a part of it every year.

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  • Coming Together: the report from Yoncalla

    Yoncalla  cover-webIn Coming Togetherwe report on our work at our Early Works site in Yoncalla, Oregon. The report details how the community and school district in Yoncalla, along with the Ford Family Foundation and the Children's Institute, have come together to build a new pathway for the community's children — from birth through kindergarten and beyond.

    View report

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