Jacksonville Usage of "Bully Pulpit" for Spotlight on Early Literacy

Summary

To improve outcomes for young children, early literacy must be a community-wide priority. When city leaders focus attention on early literacy they can be an important catalysts for change by communicating the significance of strong systems of support for young children and their families. In Jacksonville, Florida, children who join the Jax Kids Book Club receive free books, reading tools, and strategies for their families to promote learning in the home. City staff work with partners to plan community and neighborhood events around early literacy and support book drives to provide books to young children. Books are given out at schools, libraries, pediatricians offices and special events. The city also offers regularly scheduled training sessions for early educators to help them build their instructional practices as it relates to teaching reading and promoting literacy in the classroom.

The Strategy

Partners
City of Jacksonville through the Jacksonville Journey and crime prevention and early intervention provides a grant for coaching in childcare centers to improve overall quality and instructional strategies. Journey also funds a developmental screening and mental health grant for children within certain zip codes. Jacksonville Children's Commission funds intensive early learning coaching in childcare centers participating in a quality rating and improvement system around quality, instructional strategies and teacher/child interactions. Early Learning Coalition of Duval oversees the Guiding Stars of Duval Quality Rating and Improvement System and is a State Coalition providing a one-stop shop in birth to eight programs and services including training and professional development for childcare teachers and directors. Community Foundation for Northeast Florida funds early learning grants each year to non-profits in the area of birth-five and acts as a convener in early learning leadership. United Way of Northeast Florida provides scholarships to 3 and 4 year olds in 4 and 5 star centers through Success by 6 grants. Jacksonville Public Library provides storytime to families, professional development for teachers and a new program with a 2-generation approach works within childcare centers providing parent training and education. Duval County Public Schools has Voluntary PreK classrooms and collaborates in family engagement and professional development. Jacksonville Public Education Fund is a partner and supports quality system building and alignment with afterschool and summer learning.

Outcomes

In Jacksonville, the Early Learning Coalition of Duval, and other state and local funders made early literacy a priority. Among other services, they provide child care resources and referrals, training for child care professionals, makes grants to local non-profits service providers, operate a free clothing closet for young children and give books to all children who come in their offices.

Contact Information

Institute for Youth, Education, and Families
whitehouse@nlc.org

Ginger Peacock Preston
gingerp@coj.net 
1095 A Philip Randolph Blvd
Jacksonville, FL 32206
(904) 630-3647

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