Setting kids up for success in Central Texas
Across the country, millions of young children start school unprepared for the classroom. Children who enter kindergarten before they’re ready are three times less likely to read proficiently in third grade.
In 2015, the rate of kindergarten readiness among preschoolers in Central Texas plummeted, showing the impact of reductions in state and federal funding.
StriveTogether Cradle to Career Network member E3 Alliance knows the importance of supporting kids to have successful starts. The Austin-based nonprofit works to improve the lives of the 600,000 children and students living in Central Texas. Read on to learn how the network member worked to get more kids ready for school, and view the full case study here.
Working across the community
E3 Alliance and its partner school districts realized they had to work across health and education sectors in new and different ways to address this challenge. To help health care providers and educators collaborate effectively, E3 Alliance worked with StriveTogether to provide these cross-sector partners with Results Count™ workshops.
Pioneered by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Results Count™ is a collection of resources and techniques that help professionals adopt a results-oriented, equitable approach to their work. “Results Count™ provided a common framework and set of tools, based on powerful data, to all of these groups who had never worked together before,” says Laura Koenig, E3 Alliance’s senior director of community solutions.
Using data to get better results
To make a change in kindergarten readiness, E3 Alliance adopted StriveTogether’s collaborative improvement approach, which allows organizations to make decisions in real time based on results and evidence. This shift helped E3 Alliance invest resources into the most effective strategies for increasing kindergarten readiness among preschoolers living in poverty, says Susan Dawson, president and executive director of E3 Alliance.
“StriveTogether has adapted some of the most efficient tools from health care and manufacturing that force you to iterate, test, iterate, test, find something that works, start to scale up and iterate again before taking it to a whole school,” Dawson says.
Proof point and beyond
In 2018, E3 Alliance reached Proof Point along the StriveTogether Theory of ActionTM, a designation reserved for communities that have maintained or improved 60% of cradle-to-career outcome measures. Achieving Proof Point is a critical milestone in the work to get better results for every child, but systems-level change takes time.
“There are no quick fixes when so many young people are caught up in a mesh of systems designed to fail them,” says StriveTogether President and CEO Jennifer Blatz. “The Cradle to Career Network brings communities across the country together to build better systems that yield better results for every child.”