SMART START LEADERSHIP SYMPOSIUM Leaders Working Together in Pursuit of a Shared Early Childhood Vision Monday, October 26, 2009 Jane S. McKimmon Conference and Training Center Raleigh, NC NOTE: Below are selected highlights from the facilitators’ notes: Question 1: What opportunities does the consolidation of early childhood education and care services present to improve outcomes for young children? More seamless transitions – currently services overlap and are fragmented, decrease overlap in systems, data systems. Incorporation of best practices – Programs and Evaluation Value of setting up another division to oversee – more powerful force can’t “merge” program. Consolidation should increase tremendously investment in early childhood. Smoother transition from age 3 to 4 regarding subsidy. Leverage funds and people, Cost savings. More flexibility in the budget – lessen competition for funds – more flexibility of eligibility. Improve/seamless access to services for families if one agency keeps eye on concerns for children across services. Centralized dissemination of funds. Expand stakeholders. Reduce silo planning – unified voice - Common language Specialized voice – talk the same language to families – smoother transition to K-12 system. Common outcomes and measurement approaches. Easier to identify gaps and strengths of individual agencies. Planning for children based on needs, fit, or eligibility Track children through DPI (Department of Public Instruction) Closer relationship between DPI and ECE (Early Childhood Education). Closer relationship between K-12 and ECE. Higher educational expectations for teachers. One group in charge of the money then moved to areas of need. Opportunity to create common outcomes and what you want will become driver for funding. Single portal entry for eligibility = faster service, more children, connection to school system for tracking. Strong accountability. Stronger voice – a single voice working together. Shared power. Reduced paperwork. Primary voice-cabinet level. Able to share thoughts/ideas-not competing. Opportunity to even out inequities among local partnerships. Integrate services for exceptional children. Services can be more targeted – resources leveraged in multiple ways. Less paperwork for teachers-more time with kids. Draw more attention to child care and birth – 3 programs by integrating it with pre k Increase attention to the “care” as much as the education. Consistent services across counties. Universal vs. layers of contracting. Might help early intervention program and reduce variation from county to county. Comprehensive system should look at all domains, not just cognitive. Better understanding of early childhood from birth on; including users (service recipients) and advocacy. Clearer to parents and caregivers who to contact and where to go to get resources. Recipients would love it: less confusion for them, so long as the integrity of the programs can be retained. Question 2: What are critical local partnership governance strengthening needs? In rural counties it is very difficult to find board members with any experience. Coaches/consultants with knowledge of the Smart Start world. Assessment with coaching tailored to the needs of the organization. Stronger technical assistance around the alternative board structure. Board members that know what governance means. Having a diverse group with less of those who have conflict of interest. Building succession plans for board chairs. Board self-assessment with individual board member self-assessment (group and individual). Fluidity in board size – not one size fits all. Improving level of board engagement. Understanding how to sustain effective boards through leadership transitions. Bringing in new young people. Diversity – board with opportunity for leadership. Orientation for the board members. Importance of fundraising beyond the state dollars. Need 2-3 year strategic plan – board is unfamiliar with what a strategic plan looks like. Conflict of interest – clarify how to manage this sometimes those on the board don’t realize the conflict. Recognizing where the conflict is a few people wear many hats. Understanding what good governance looks like. Support to help us be good at governance. Need flexibility at local level to ensure board is working well. Expectation of what board members will do outside of board meeting – letters to the editor, thank you notes, resource development. Assess expectations of board members – what is their common understanding? Board composition – need to look at alternative board composition structures. A skilled facilitator to work with board. Helping identify additional donors for local partnerships. Additional resources needed. Assistance with board retreats. Smart Start governance consulting assistance. Strategies for addressing 100% board giving. Question 3: How can local partnerships leverage community resources to sustain program quality and effective? Collaborating with other agencies that do have funding – collaborative funding. Partner with United Way there are agencies programs that do great job but have no money. Looking at what we do and looking for grant resources rather than other way around planning. Knowledge of finance diversifying; board mandated positions restrictive but include people who have money and have access to money. Get people to buy into the idea educating people on the board public relations is a big. Look at from youth perspective. Time, talent, resources. Take advantage of people on the board and their community connections – spotlight board members at meetings. Recruit people on board and know who is on board. Board needs to understand that part of their responsibility is resources. Blended funding. More in-kind sponsorships. Collaborate with key partners for services. Special events that are tailored to local community. Collaborate with other non profits at special events. LP’s share with each other their best fundraising efforts. NCPC has a “kit” on-line for LP’s to share fund raising information. Something annual – special signature event, campaign etc. Joint fundraisers – working with more partners. County pays ½ of rent. Partner with other agencies to write grants. Annual campaign – Building a Foundation $25,000.00 raised over a couple of years – Slogan: 15 for 15 years. LP’s upload fundraising materials to Smart Start website to use as clearing house for ideas so there’s less reinventing the wheel. Use graduate school students help with in-service project. Internships. Community assessment to identify community needs Embed fundraising plan in strategic plan Establish easily communicated mission. Coordinate with other non-profits and NCPC Support United Way efforts.
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