Educate Midland is honored and proud to announce that Midland has officially become a Start Smart Texas community. Start Smart Texas is a partnership between the United Ways of Texas and Texas PBS created to support Texas communities that are part of the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. With the help of other Texas cities, we can achieve improved reading scores across our state.
In order to join Start Smart Texas, each community must develop an action plan to focus on mobilizing local nonprofit organizations, civic and business leaders, and engaged citizens to work in concert with families and schools to address three underlying challenges that can keep young children from learning to read proficiently:
- School readiness — too many children are entering kindergarten already behind
- School attendance — too many young children are missing too many days of school
- Summer learning — too many children are losing ground academically over the summer
What does this mean?
For those of you who don’t know, Educate Midland is a “backbone” organization, coordinating and facilitating the community effort to move the bar on key educational indicators and to create sustainable student success outcomes. One of our key educational indicators is Early Learning under our School Readiness framework. By becoming a Start Smart Community, Educate Midland will have access to:
- A learning community with regular opportunities to learn from state and national experts on issues of relevance to Texas communities and student success
- Access to state-level partners working together to support children and communities
- Opportunities to connect with and learn from other Texas communities that are dedicated to improving the lives of children ages 0 – 8
- Access to resources such as books and technologies designed to assist communities in their support of children, families, and schools
- A whole lot more …
In one of Educate Midland’s first partner alignment initiatives, the EDI, or Early Development Instrument, was introduced as a community-level kindergarten readiness assessment. This tool allows the community to look at kindergarten readiness at a neighborhood-level of residence rather than school campus attendance. This truly paints a picture of where a child falls on a holistic scale of readiness to thrive in school before they even enter a classroom.
In the spring of the 2016-2017 school year, the EDI showed nearly half of kindergarten students in Midland ISD were not ready for school. By becoming a Start Smart community, Educate Midland hopes to improve school readiness, attendance, and reading scores in not only our own community but across the state.
The main resource driving the sustainable efforts of this collaborative initiative is each partner’s shared vision to support early education through constant communication. Our number one priority is to help children in their academic journey from cradle to career, and we are excited to announce this partnership and new beginning so that we can have a greater impact on our children, family, and community.
For more information on Educate Midland and our dedication to early childhood learning, visit educatemidland.org