May 2014 Partnership Update
Dear Friends –
As another school year winds down, those engaged in the work of the All Hands Raised Partnership are reflecting on what has been accomplished in the two years since our Collaboratives held their first meetings. At the same time, we are actively engaged in discussions to lay the foundation for a fifth Collaborative focused on the high school to college and career transition. In addition, we are in a new phase with the early childhood work, merging the Ready for Kindergarten Collaborative into the expanded Early Learning Multnomah Collaborative.
While many of us are focused on the end of the school year, for parents of five-year-olds spring is a critical time of new beginnings as they prepare for the transition to kindergarten. Registering for kindergarten by June, long before school starts, is a critical step and unfortunately, as many as one-in-seven local children registers late for kindergarten. This means lost instructional time, missed opportunities to enroll in summer support programs and an unstructured start to a new school year.
James John Elementary School is one of eight demonstration sites implementing shared kindergarten transition strategies as a part of the All Hands Raised Partnership. Sam Leach, who teaches kindergarten and is engaged in the work said this of the critical importance of registering on-time. “Each of my students is a unique individual who comes from a different environment. When I know who will be in my class before the summer, I have time to learn a little about them and their families. I can also prepare lessons that meet each child where they are at to provide them the best education possible.”
Many partners engaged in the expanded Early Learning Multnomah Collaborative have come together around the “Register for School by June” campaign. As a result, the percent of on-time registered kindergarteners in the eight schools partnering with the Collaborative has risen from 67.5 percent in 2011 to 84 percent in 2013. Overall, on-time registrations county-wide have risen from 80.4 percent to 86 percent. For the children behind the data, this increase means more children arrive at a school and a classroom that is prepared to greet them with a desk, cubby and materials, and more importantly with a teacher who is more prepared for their arrival.
Improvements such as these are at the heart of why this community established the All Hands Raised Partnership. We continue to set our sights on increasing the impact of this work through targeted outreach to touch students and families that are far too often overlooked. I look forward to partnering with United Way of the Columbia-Willamette and Multnomah County as we integrate this work and broaden our impact to reach our zero-to-six-year-olds in meaningful ways. And I am grateful to Social Venture Partners Portland for the leadership role they played in getting the work of this Collaborative off the ground in a strategic and data-driven way. All of us continue to find our role and play our part.
Wishing you a safe and joy-filled graduation season.