Through the work of the Florida Grade-Level Reading Campaign (FGLRC), we are creating change for children through synergy, alignment and mobilizing efforts. The FGLRC is maximizing the collective impact of organizations working on grade-level reading, organizing existing efforts, expanding the work to improve coordination and alignment, and working on making significant progress on child outcomes.
Our four networks anchored in the tenets of the national Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (CGLR) include:
1) Community Leaders Network – a learning community to share best practices, focus on outcomes and align efforts. The work and associated outcomes will demonstrate what can and should be accomplished statewide.
2) Early Learning Policy Thought Leaders Network – working from fiscal and resource mapping, child development research, proven system development strategies and community efforts, early childhood experts will develop a plan for systemic change focused on improved child and family outcomes.
3) Florida Business Leaders Alliance – engagement of the business sector will increase the prominence, funding and policy development of early childhood initiatives.
4) Funders Collaborative – convening key funders committed to improving child/family outcomes and education.
While there is growing momentum to organize efforts to support grade-level reading and families in poverty, there is not complete synergy and alignment across sectors. In a state as large as Florida, the opportunity to provide linkages and supports between government, private sector, philanthropy and communities is unprecedented in early education. The ability to collectively work toward a plan for comprehensive services that defines clear expectations for early education while affording communities the flexibility to honor and respect the diversity of communities will be a model for early education in the nation and other social services in Florida.
Community Leaders Network: Sharing Best Practices, Providing Targeted Support
The Florida Grade-Level Reading Campaign is currently implementing a Community of Practice model designed to educate and share resources among our 16 local grade-level reading communities. To connect local community leaders, our strategies include: webinars, email distribution lists, frequent postings to our online communication platforms, resource development and sharing, use of a document repository for access to online resources, plus regional meetings and statewide trainings.
The Florida Children’s Council facilitates peer-to-peer learning exchanges that match strengths and challenges and provides targeted external expertise and resources to assist local planning, as well as showcase resources, activities, and outcomes. Communities are invited to actively engage in group exercises that identify best practices, programs and services that will result in improved child outcomes in school readiness, summer learning loss, attendance, child health and parent engagement.
As the identified state lead to the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, the Florida Children’s Council is also responsible for communicating regularly with the national campaign about the progress of communities in Florida and maintaining records on each community’s grade-level reading efforts.
The Florida Grade-Level Reading Campaign meets with local leaders of child and family support services across the state to develop systems of care, services and supports from birth through third grade that address campaign goals. By aligning efforts, communities will increase the impact on child outcomes.
We welcome the opportunity to meet with new communities interested in joining the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading and our Florida Community Leaders Network. For more information on our Community Leaders Network, contact Jenn Faber, Director of Grade-Level Reading.
Early Learning Policy Thought Leaders Network: Improving Policies and Funding
The Florida Children’s Council is providing focused leadership and coordination of early learning experts and state agency partners to develop a strategic plan that addresses overall improvements in child outcomes including an increased number of children who are ready for school, have higher attendance, show decreased levels of summer learning loss and are reading at grade level.
Incremental change in each of these areas will be targeted by statewide policy efforts while local communities and other partners continue to focus resources and efforts on improvements to school readiness, summer learning, attendance and other factors impacting child development. Through coordination of public and private sector early-learning leadership, our plan development focuses on system improvements and resources needed to support children’s development and improve grade-level reading outcomes.
A fiscal and resource mapping analysis of current state and community efforts is being conducted through the Florida Children’s Council to: 1) identify both opportunities and gaps in grade-level reading resources statewide; 2) assess the policy strengths and challenges of the entities impacting grade-level reading; and 3) provide baseline data that includes a map of current resources dedicated to grade-level reading efforts and services available.
This collective work will identify core foundational elements most in need of a methodical and thoughtful effort to improve child outcomes. The development of this fiscal and resource mapping coupled with aligned strategic planning will result in a roadmap to coordinate and mobilize the needed attention, resources and annual policy changes to improve children’s school readiness, school attendance, summer learning outcomes and the percentage of children who are reading at grade level.
In upcoming years, the fiscal and resource mapping along with the best practices identified through the Community Leaders Network will be used to refine the strategic plan and will be the basis for extending this work into a multi-year plan for incremental progress toward better grade-level reading outcomes.
Visit our Florida Children’s Council’s Legislative Affairs page to read more about our priority issues, and contact Dr. Brittany Birken for more information on our Florida Grade-Level Reading Policy Thought Leaders Network.
Business Leaders Alliance: Engaging Key Business Leaders
Building on current efforts to increase business and private sector engagement in grade-level reading efforts, the development of a Business Leaders Alliance will support and influence a grade-level reading framework by educating members on research advances, policy development opportunities and meaningful community solutions that support all children reading at grade level.
With a long history of partnership focused on the education continuum, the Florida Chamber Foundation has declared that school readiness, grade-level reading, and supporting families in poverty are business and economic issues that require long-term private-sector engagement. The Chamber Foundation will lead the development of the Business Leaders Alliance engaging the business sector and seeking business leader commitment to learn more about critical contributions private-sector business members can make to grade-level reading.
The Florida Children’s Council will provide staff support to educate members on research advances, policy development opportunities and meaningful community solutions that support all children reading at grade level. With regional representation across Florida, community- and state-level efforts will benefit from the increased engagement of the private sector.
The Florida Chamber Foundation is committed to continuous quality improvement for early education systems development, and the increased engagement of the Business Alliance through supports from The Florida Children’s Council will allow the Chamber to seek additional resources to continue this work.
Visit the Florida Chamber’s Early Learning Business Alliance for more information, and contact Tracey Lowe for more information about becoming a member.
Funders Collaborative: Ensuring Success and Sustainability
As we work to strengthen current community efforts and identify gaps in resources, the Florida Children’s Council is developing a Funders Collaborative to advance our grade-level reading work and ensure adequacy of resources to local and state efforts.
The Council is partnering with the Florida Philanthropic Network (FPN) to identify new partners including education and community foundations, as well as other philanthropic organizations. The Council regularly informs funding partners on research advances, policy development opportunities and meaningful community solutions that support all children reading at grade level.
Current funders convene to review the work of the campaign, identify gaps in resources, support current and emerging community efforts, identify opportunities for strengthened child and family supports, and determine additional strategies for success, while helping sustain the infrastructure necessary to positively impact child outcomes and school success.
Identification of opportunities for engagement and connectivity to community efforts will inform future investments and support continued growth and development of grade-level reading efforts. Additionally, community investments will be sustained by the commitments of community leaders and current funders.
For more information on joining our Funders Collaborative, contact Dr. Brittany Birken.