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Knowledge From the Field

Improving School Readiness Outcomes: Lessons From Six Communities

Published: 2004

Publisher(s): Annie E. Casey Foundation

Author(s): Segal, Ann; Charles Bruner

Funder(s): Annie E. Casey Foundation

View Report (59 pages; 334KB; PDF)

Improving School Readiness Outcomes: Lessons From Six Communities

Area of focus: Early Learning


This report profiles six local government efforts to develop early learning systems to achieve the goal of school readiness—efforts that use federal and state resources but are locally owned. These efforts were identified and selected based upon discussions with a number of early childhood experts in the field.

Key Findings and/or Recommendations

+ Miami-Dade County has a Children’s Trust, which has been successful in its school readiness efforts by providing: universal provision of information to new mothers; training and enhanced support to upgrade the quality of both child care and Head Start; a family literacy emphasis that recognizes the diversity of the population and its languages; and greater outreach to identify and address special needs through early intervention.

+ South Carolina’s First Steps to School Readiness program and the Richland County Partnership Board illustrates how local planning boards can enable people to come together to fashion new, practical, solutions at a very hands-on, ground level.

= In Orange County, the county commission funded a “school readiness coordinator” position in every school district with a kindergarten population.

= Santa Clara County’s First 5 funding provides education stipends that are given directly to early childhood educators to reduce turnover and improve the quality of care. The First 5 plan emphasizes the need to create a comprehensive system of care, which reflects the needs and desires of the people it will serve.

= Lancaster County’s Success by 6 program began to look at which services they provide, to whom, when, and how so they can better coordinate and serve the clients about whom they all care.

= Hampton Roads’ Square One program has 17 municipalities working on early childhood issues, and the leadership and strategies in the municipalities vary.

Geographic Focus: California, Florida, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia

Subjects/Keywords: Early learning; early childhood education; school readiness; community organizing

+ Successful strategy
= Observation
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