Progress

As we continue to move forward, we make sure to track our performance along the way.

A focused effort

Since we began our efforts, we have accomplished a great deal. But there is much more work to be done.

Built broad community coalition of 65+ members, focused on achieving 3rd grade literacy.

Created 10-year vision to address continuum from birth to 3rd grade.

Published report that laid out the need and strategy.

Carried out Early Matters Summit with 350 community leaders, with General Colin Powell as keynote speaker.

Worked with consultants and thought leaders over 8 months to create Collective Impact model of community change for Early Matters.

House Bill 4

Played a pivotal role in the passage of HB4 to improve quality of Pre-K in Texas.

Established organization with staff to serve as the backbone.

Made innovative agreement with United Way of Greater Houston to employ, house and support backbone organization.

Received solid 3-year funding to support Early Matters efforts.

Created 6 strategically focused work groups, led by subject matters experts from the community.

Created partnership to introduce Early Matters Dallas, establishing a historic partnership in the state’s two largest cities.

Early Childhood Education Quality
Co-Chairs: Carol Shattuck, Susan Landry, Jim Postl

Current efforts are underway to improve the quality of early childhood programs and support educators and families in literacy development with a focus on:

Texas Rising Star Participation

Increase number of ECE programs in the region that participate in the Texas Rising Star program; explore and seek to eliminate barriers to participating in TRS; identify incentives for facilities to participate; market high quality centers.

ECE Teacher Credentials

Promote CDA or other quality credential attainment among ECE professionals, including Pre-K teachers; alleviate barriers to teachers obtaining the credential; seek resources to support teachers who pursue it; inventory and promote quality training options for teachers.

ECE Teacher and Director Professional Development

Expand/coordinate affordable, evidence-based training, mentoring/coaching for ECE teachers and directors that is aligned to state standards; equip directors with the knowledge and skills needed in terms of both business management and education delivery.

Family Education and Support
Co-Chairs: Scott McLelland, Julie Baker-Finck

Inherently centered on assisting families in creating home environments that form the foundation of a child’s development, this group addresses its efforts on the whole family, addressing opportunities to build families’ capacity to support the development of children’s early literacy skills through the following means:

Technology Support

Pilot and capitalize on new technology that can help parents/families teach their children at home; identifying apps that can be easily accessed, is evidence-based, bilingual, tailored to school curriculum, and targets parents’ diverse needs.

Literacy Kits

Identify opportunities to expand the availability of literacy kits in the community by distributing kits through key “access points” in the system that touch/influence parents and children (via public transport, workforce development offices, faith-based organizations).

Coordination of Book Donations

Provide age-appropriate books to more low income communities; work together with partners to increase coordination and effectiveness of donation and distribution efforts around the region so that all families can have books in their homes.

Evidence-based Programs

Offer deep and ongoing support for parents to build their children’s emotional and educational skills; grow Houston’s evidence-based programs that holistically help families with their parenting needs — ranging from access to social services to reading with their children.

Kindergarten to 3rd Grade
Co-Chairs: Duncan Klussmann, Wanda Bamberg

We support schools and their community partners as critical players in early literacy development with a special emphasis on improving teaching effectiveness, assessments across participating ISDs, and out-of-school time:

Teaching Effectiveness

Improve college-based/alternative teacher training programs to better equip teachers to teach early learning; understand best practices and increase access to external professional development and classroom-based professional support.

Assessment

Create a shared definition of “reading at grade level” and identify a common assessment to evaluate reading proficiency across multiple school districts.

Out-of-School Time

Leverage resources to provide year-round reading support for students in K-3; improve alignment, effectiveness, and assessment of out-of-school time programs.

Health Systems Support
Co-Chairs: Ann Barnes, Christina Triantaphyllis

Pediatricians and their offices are an important early touch-point for parents, especially if children are not yet in school. This work group provides valuable emphasis on and resources for early literacy development. They work with a network of specialists to screen for and help address early learning challenges:

Partner with Pediatric Practices to 1) Expand literacy-specific programs, such as Reach out and Read 2) Improve screening and referral to parent supports, social services, high quality child care and behavioral health and 3) examine ways to leverage the waiting room as an information delivery environment.

Legislative and Policy
Co-Chairs: Bob Harvey, HD Chambers, Bob Sanborn

How we are driving change:

We are advocates for policies that support Pre-K advancement and improvements in Texas.

Pre-K
Co-Chairs: Lonnie Hutson & Scott Muri

How we are driving change:

Working to maximize the enrollment of eligible children in quality pre-k programs throughout the region and promoting those strategies that improve kindergarten readiness and ultimately success.