Early Childhood Initiative Meeting Minutes
June 18, 2009
1) The meeting began with a welcome and introductions. Attending the meeting were
Stacy Haugen McAllister, Jane Patrick, Marsha Erickson, Karen Hanan, Mary
Phillipe, Mary Matteson, Steve Adams, Tindy Rund, Bud Nornes, Sue TenEyck-
Stafki and Patty Deery.
2) Follow-up from previous meeting was discussed.
The group reviewed the final selection for the Fergus Falls ECI logo. The group
liked the final product and appreciated Sheri Holms’ help in developing it.
The group decided that they would likely switch to late afternoon or evening
meeting times in the fall so as to better accommodate the schedules of the
private preschool providers.
Jane reported that we now have significant numbers of the preschool
experiences checklists collected and the information will be reviewed by the
smaller ad hoc group from the Fergus Falls School that is working on this
initiative. The group hopes to meet in the next few weeks to develop strategies
to engage those children and families reporting limited early childhood
experiences prior to kindergarten entrance.
3) The Fergus Falls ECI 2009-10 Work Plan was finalized and approved by the group.
Jane will pull together the grant application for WCI and submit on behalf of United
Way as the fiscal host. Discussions began on the specific strategies for each
identified task including:
Jane shared information with the group on Greater Minnesota Fatherhood
Leadership Circles – a grant opportunity to help embed father-friendly
services within existing community systems. The group felt this would be an
ideal opportunity which would fit well under the task of multi-generational
events and activities. Jane noted that Otter Tail County Human Services had
just completed and implemented a new Father’s Involvement Plan and
suggested that the group take a look at incorporating a similar model to help
maintain consistency for families. Jane will discuss the Human Services Plan
with Brad Vold and bring additional information back to the group at their next
meeting. The Application is due September 10th.
Head Start also shared that they are looking at hiring a 20-hour week position
to support fathers. Stacy indicated that she might know of a person who
would be interested in such a position. Patty will continue to update the group
on this initiative as it evolves.
The group discussed multi-generational activities and determined they would
like to host an activity at the West Otter Tail County Fair on July 16 th. $500
will be used to purchase books to give to families participating as a way of
promoting literacy. Karen Hanan agreed to check with her staff to see if they
would be available to help with activities on July 16th. Jane will check with
John Sethry to reserve a location to set up the tent in the same area as the
fire department jump house, if possible. Marsha offered the use of her tent
for the evening. The group may also host something on “Family Night Out”
which is usually in August in Fergus Falls. There were some concerns noted
about the location and whether or not it is safe for young children. Jane and
Mary Matteson will discuss options for this event with Pat Connelly. The
group would like to order a banner for advertising the ECI at each of these
and other events they sponsor.
Jane had discussed options for improved access to child care with LuAnn
Harris. LuAnn indicated that quality improvements generally lead to
increased capacity and options for families. LuAnn made several
recommendations for how the group might improve quality and these
suggestions were included in the work plan for the next year. The group will
decide specifically which initiatives to develop when LuAnn is able to attend.
4) There is a play area workshop coming up on June 23rd in Ogema. Jane and Stacy
McAllister are planning to attend and will bring information back to the group for
review. Mary Leff from the White Earth ECI is arranging the workshop and indicated
that the speaker is from First Children’s Finance and would likely be willing to give a
similar presentation in Fergus Falls if the group were interested. Patty Deery also
noted that a new children’s play area had been opened up in Fargo recently and that
the project coordinator would also be willing to come to Fergus Falls to share
information on their project. Sue Stafki indicated she has worked with playground
development through Children’s Corner so may have some information she could
share. Finally, the group discussed their intent of coordinating efforts with other city
projects such as the library expansion or the Community Center. Walt Dunlap is the
library project coordinator and Pam Muxfeldt is the Community Center project
coordinator. Steve Adams noted that there may be some stimulus dollars available
particularly when coordinating efforts under the umbrella of a city initiative.
5) The group reviewed various websites from other ECI communities to see what
outline would work well in the Fergus Falls community. Sheri Holms from WCI is
able to help the group develop the site and Mary Phillipe indicated that United Way
could likely help with maintenance and updates once the site is up and running.
Each organization will be responsible for uploading their own activities and calendar
information as those events transpire. The group would prefer “ffeci.org” as their
first choice for an IP address and “fergusfallseci” as their second choice. Jane will
check with Sheri Holms to see if we can get the address reserved as soon as
possible and the group would like to include the web address on the banner that is
ordered if possible.
6) The next meeting will be held on July 23 at 10AM.