2018 has been a year of expansion, big thinking and continual reshaping of what quality early learning looks like—and who it works for—in our county. We are so thankful for the parents, partners, advocates, and allies who have stood with us this year as we expand equity and opportunity for every child in Multnomah County.
As we reflect on everything we’ve accomplished together in 2018, there are seven highlights that stand out.
- We further elevated parent insights in everything we do. Our new Oversight Council brings together parents and sector leaders to ensure we’re meeting our state-funded requirements, while also staying true ELM’s family-driven principals. We are so proud of the parents who’ve led us with their values and voices, and we are thankful for the sector leaders who have been willing to learn from and share power with parents.
- Our Parent Accountability Council (PAC) celebrated its fourth year of advocating for families in Multnomah County. “Not only are we being heard, we’re being taken seriously,” said Lydia Gray-Holifield, PAC member and Oversight Council Member. “We’re being recognized, we’re being honored, and we’re being brought to the table where there were no seats for us in the beginning.”
- We helped launch the Preschool for All Taskforce. The task force is a nine-month effort to develop policy recommendations that will expand preschool options in Multnomah County. In addition to having two PAC members on the task force, ELM’s PAC has also served in an advisory capacity for the group. We’re looking forward to the final recommendations coming from the task force in June 2019.
- ELM-funded Prenatal-3rd Grade (P-3) Schools engaged more, diverse families with culturally specific outreach. Gresham-Barlow School District added one new P-3 school, and existing P-3 schools have expanded and improved their offerings to better serve children and families. P-3 Coordinators continue to lead the way in creating and implementing innovative approaches to family engagement that are proven to help kids do better in school.
- We led the formation of a Portland Interest Group of the National Black Child Development Institute (NBDCI). “The Portland Interest Group will be the leading voice in early childhood, child welfare and parent voice for black children and those who care about them,” said Frances Sallah, ELM Co‐Director. The new group is made up of community members, educators and business owners who will advocate for fairness and representation, lend their voices, and work to change the future for black children.
- Albina Head-Start at Faubion K-8 received a 5-star Spark rating, making a total of five ELM Preschool Promise sites with the state’s top-quality rating. Our Preschool Promise partners are bringing high-quality early learning opportunities along with culturally specific programming to more children and families in the county.
- We joined a nationwide network to improve child development systems from birth to age three. ELM was selected as one of 29 communities—and the only one in the Pacific Northwest—to be part of the Early Childhood Learning and Innovation Network for Communities (EC-LINC). This new partnership is a dramatic investment to improve kindergarten readiness nationwide.
Thank you for all you’ve done to support Early Learning Multnomah in 2018.
We know we have a lot more work ahead in 2019 and beyond. We’ll need your help sparking the big shifts necessary to build a system that works for all children and families.