Campaign for Grade-Level Reading Webinar on First 10 Community Partnerships in Action

""The Campaign for Grade-level Reading webinar, First 10 Community Partnerships in Action, was an opportunity to hear from communities about how they are implementing First 10 strategies to build cohesive supports for children, ages 0 to 10.

The webinar opens with a helpful background from David Jacobson, describing the basis for First 10 work, the First 10 Framework and strategies, and the different First 10 community models. If you have colleagues or friends who are unfamiliar with First 10, the first 30 minutes of the webinar is a great segment to share with them.

The presenters—Superintendent Andrea Berry, School District of the City of York, PA; Secretary Barbara Cooper, Alabama Department of Education; Alyssa Gleason, East Bay Community Action Program, RI; and Karen Rebello, East Providence Public Schools, RI—gave examples on:

  • why and how cross-agency collaboration between early childhood and K-12 has been important at both the state and local levels
  • how new relationships and collaborations have been built and maintained
  • how this work has led to systemic change
  • lessons learned thus far
  • and more!

This work has been an opportunity for us to just see how we can transform entire communities one at a time around the importance of investing early.”—Secretary Barbara Cooper

Watch the recording | View the slides

First 10 Highlights from Lancaster County, PA

In our September First 10 Network webinar, we learned about a great example of county—community collaboration on First 10. We heard from Amanda Burns and Meg May from the Community Action Partnership (CAP) of Lancaster County and Denise Logue from Cocalico School District about how they are implementing First 10 partnerships in Pennsylvania together. They shared strategies that are working in their region as well as plans for future improvement.

The Community Action Partnership (CAP) of Lancaster County is an anti-poverty organization that includes programs such as Head Start, PreK Counts, WIC, and Parents as Teachers (PAT). With support from a United Way Collective Impact grant, CAP began First 10 work in 2018.

CAP’s county-wide initiatives include:

  • Forming work groups focused on social-emotional development and family engagement
  • Creating kindergarten transition tools (such as a social-emotional transition form)
  • Mounting a county-wide Basics campaign, including incorporating The Basics into home visits

CAP’s Parents As Teachers (PAT) program includes home visiting, family engagement events, parent cafes, play and learns, and other activities.

The Cocalico School District has partnered with CAP and other community organizations to create a strong First 10 partnership. Denise Logue described their successful Play and Learns (requiring a waiting list!). Their model includes parent learning about The Basics (happening while kids are playing), play time to connect kids and parents with one another, a book or poem reading, a special guest (usually a specialist) from the community such as an eye doctor, speech therapist, etc., and activities related to a theme. The Play and Learns are a true partnership: CAP funds the materials; a local library provides books, resources and toys; the district provides space, technology and their link to school personnel and families for communications.

Cocalico also offers seven Transition to Kindergarten workshops for families of preK students throughout the year. Each workshop has a different focus. The first workshop is about fun & engagement and is designed for students to see how exciting school can be. Other workshops cover social emotional readiness, gross motor skills, reading readiness, math readiness, and writing readiness. The final workshop has the students go to the schools they will be attending in the fall to prepare them for that transition.

In addition, Cocalico has organized several meetings to bring preK and kindergarten teachers together to connect and learn from one another. Sessions have included comparing preK vs kindergarten social emotional standards, examining the literacy standards, and a training on the Heggerty (Phonological Awareness Program) and FUNdations (Phonics) programs.

For more details about their initiatives, view slides from the webinar and visit their websites at and

The First 10 Network is Underway: Our First Community of Practice Webinar

A community of practice brings together people around a common interest to share best practices and create new actionable knowledge. We launched our community of practice with a webinar that brought together representatives from our six First 10 states to hear from two groups that are successfully building partnership systems to support young children.

Our first speaker, Secretary Barbara Cooper from Alabama’s Department of Early Childhood Education, is working with EDC to establish First 10 partnerships in Alabama. Alabama is building a comprehensive approach to kindergarten readiness and school success. In addition to expanding its highly regarded First Class Prekindergarten program, Alabama is working to align all pre-natal to age 8 services in the state and is building partnerships within communities to create environments in which all students can succeed.

As part of this work and in collaboration with EDC, Alabama has published a Transition to Kindergarten Toolkit that includes guidance, resources, and strategies to support local communities in implementing effective transition to Kindergarten plans. 

We also heard from Cris Lopez Anderson and Amy Schmidtke from the Buffett Early Childhood Institute. Their work in Metro Omaha, Nebraska was an inspiration for First 10. Cris and Amy shared their extensive experience implementing the Superintendents’ Early Childhood Plan: A Birth Through Grade 3 Approach. This approach is centered on three pillars:

  • Quality (what children and families experience in terms of practices),
  • Continuity (how children and families experience services over time and ensuring that services are aligned and coordinated), and
  • Equity (who experiences quality and continuity).

The Superintendents’ Plan brings together home visiting (birth to age 3), family supports, and coaching for teachers in elementary schools that serve as hubs for children and families. The Plan started by testing this full implementation model in six districts seven years ago.

While showing many signs of success, over the years, the Buffett Institute has identified a key challenge to the Plan’s current implementation model: their work in schools has been siloed and not adequately connected to district goals and initiatives. To tackle this challenge, the Superintendents’ Plan is taking a systems-approach and creating an action plan with district leaders focused on how district goals for early childhood education are being supported and tackled at each level of the system. The goal is to be transparent with all community members—children, family, school staff, and school leaders—about what the goals are and what each member’s role is.

These two presentations led to small breakout group discussions to give attendees time to meet one another and to discuss what they had heard and how they could apply aspects of these approaches to their own First 10 partnerships.

It was a full agenda! We’ll be pausing community of practice meetings for the summer but are looking forward to our September meeting, where we will be sure to include lots of time for attendees to meet, network, and learn about one another’s work!