Last week, Generation Next – led by former Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak, held a stakeholder event to give an update on their work surrounding the achievement gap and college readiness. The full presentation and background data can be found here. They are currently working on a few key action items in regards to early childhood education through 3rd grade, including:
- Expanding screening for every 3 year old in Minneapolis and St. Paul by engaging parents through network partners and medical providers. Screening early allows education officials and medical professionals to catch any learning disabilities prior to the child starting kindergarten and allows the appropriate parties to address those barriers in an effort to set the child up for success.
- Raising the quality of early childcare. There are currently a large number of children aged 0-5 enrolled in Centers and Licensed Family Child Care, but a low percentage of those programs are rated as “high-quality” (38% and 6%, respectively). The focus is not on shifting children out of these programs, but on what we can do to enhance the quality of them.
- Expanding the Literacy Tutoring Network and utilizing data to enhance the effectiveness of volunteer reading programs. Minneapolis and St. Paul residents currently donate a generous amount of time to various school reading programs. The focus now is on capitalizing on that volunteer network and using data on most effective methods to get the best possible impact out of these programs.
Question for JL Members: Are you involved in any type of literacy or reading volunteer program through your community or within your workplace? How do you think these programs could be improved to enhance their effectiveness?
Post contributed by Bri Fields.