A collection of over 40 community stakeholders began meeting in October, 2018, sharing data and discussing the most critical challenges and opportunities for improving early learning outcomes in Forsyth County. These meetings were convened through The Promise’s Birth to Third Grade Action Network, and participants included parents, caregivers, service providers, and representatives from Forsyth County organizations and institutions. The purpose and goal of the Action Network is to build a broad, data-informed consensus around which opportunities and challenges, specific to the early learning space, the community should collaboratively focus on, together.

On February 13, Action Network members met for the 2019 Priorities Summit. This meeting was focused around a ballot of potential priorities; this ballot represented the sum output of several world cafe, data deep dive, and listening session events, with staff using qualitative analysis methods to refine the most prevalent themes of these input sessions.

After the last participant had cast their ballots, the votes were counted, and the following priorities were identified for community focus:

  1. Improve access and education around mental health.
  2. Improve the quality and affordability of 0-3 childcare and Pre-K; provide more competitive compensation for teachers.
  3. Increase prevalence of specific supports to break the cycle of poverty.

Next Steps: Moving Toward Action

Promise staff are currently meeting with Action Network members individually to better understand how their roles and work align with the selected priorities, and how each members sees themselves and/or their organization plugging into the upcoming work to support each priority.

This was a great opportunity to learn together and capture the thoughts, experiences, ideas, and perspectives surrounding early education in Forsyth County. It was awe inspiring to see and hear the positive passion from the various community voices in the room.

Tony Lo Giudice, Assistant Forsyth County Health Director

In April, Action Network members will form Action Teams around each priority. Action Teams will develop holistic strategies and work together to engage the broader community in pushing progress toward shared goals.

The Big Picture

The ultimate goal of the Birth to Third Grade Action Network’s activities is for many different community stakeholders to work collaboratively on specific strategies to improve early learning outcomes in Forsyth County. We call this a collaborative planning and action cycle. Action Network members repeat this cycle annually to monitor progress toward goals and adapt strategies over time.

To learn more or get involved, contact Adam Hill at Adam@ForsythFutures.org.