The Birth to Third Grade Action Network

Collective community planning and action to change our systems of education and improve outcomes for young children.

A photograph from a recent action network meeting

Photo of a small group discussion from a recent Birth to Third Grade Action Network meeting.

The Birth to Third Grade Action Network is a coalition of educators, childcare providers, nonprofits, local government, philanthropic organizations, parents, caregivers, and community advocates for education.

Our members are united in a commitment to work together, using data as a guide, to improve our systems of education. We are working to identify new and innovative ways to use our shared resources and knowledge to improve outcomes for our community’s youngest children.

What happens to a child in the time between birth and the third grade has a profound impact on his or her chances for lifelong educational success, as well as overall wellbeing in life.

It’s difficult to overstate how critically important it is for a young child to have high-quality child care, enriching experiences, and a safe, stable, nurturing environment.

young boy learning to read

Since 2017 the Birth to Third Grade Action Network has worked to examine conditions within our community that impact young children in the first eight years of their lives. We review local data, share perspectives and lived experiences, and research best practices from around the country to inform our thinking on how we can work together to change our local policies and systems to achieve better outcomes for our children.

Key Insights

one in ten households infographic
Around 90% of Forsyth County households with infants/toddlers experience childcare cost burden.

Fewer than 10% of all Forsyth County children are receiving public support to attend child care or Pre-K. About one third are attending regulated child care or Pre-K.

infographic
Forsyth County children are not prepared to learn to read when they enter Kindergarten.

Only 25% of Kindergarten students were proficient on the middle of year Istation reading assessment. View this data

infographic half of children
Only about half of all Forsyth County children are reading on grade level by the end of third grade.

In the 2018-19 school year, 52% of third grade students were proficient on the end of grade reading assessment. The percent of students who were proficient decreased from 58% in the 2013-14 school year to 52% in the 2018-19 school year. View this data

Father reading to young son

There are significant disparities by race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status among key early reading measures.

These measures are important indicators of future success, both in terms of a child’s educational career, but also in terms of their outcomes in life overall.

View this data.

Young children playing with blocks

The Birth to Third Grade Action Network

Mental Health Action Team

The Mental Health Action Team, which includes organizations that provide mental health services and parent leaders, collaborates to identify and implement strategies to improve mental health outcomes for young children.

In 2019 the Birth to Third Grade Action Network identified key priorities in the early education space to tackle collaboratively. Childhood mental health was one of the strategic priorities identified by the action network and the Mental Health Action Network was launched to move this work forward.

Focus of the Work

A foundation of positive mental health begins in childhood. As of 2017, one in three WS/FCS high school students reported feeling depressive symptoms and one in five reported having considered suicide. Learn more about the connection between childhood mental health and student success. 

There are barriers in our community that make it more difficult for children who might benefit from mental health support to recieve such support. Stigma, denial, and resistence — from parents, educators, and caregivers — make providing necessary treatment and support more difficult.

The Mental Health Action Team is working to build awareness about the conditions of childhood mental health and to reduce stigmga around treatment.

Active Members

  • Amos Cottage
  • Department of Social Services
  • Downtown Health Plaza
  • Family Services Inc.
  • Imprints Cares
  • Mental Health Association
  • Novant Health
  • Parenting PATH
  • School Health Alliance
  • Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools

Point of Contact

Adam Hill (adam@forsythfutures.org)

Tools and Resources

Father and daughter playing together

Childhood Wellbeing and Mental Wellness Field Guide

An guide to help parents and caregivers understand and support their child’s healthy development.

Cradle to Career

The 2020 Forsyth County Community Education Report

Sharing community information in an accessible and engaging way so that everyone can better understand our local systems of education.

Mother with infant

The Birth to Third Grade Action Network

Infant/Toddler Action Team

The Infant/Toddler Action Team, which includes organizations from the local child care system and parent leaders, collaborates to identify and implement strategies to advocate for policy changes to address affordability, access, and quality of child care in Forsyth County.

In 2019 the Birth to Third Grade Action Network identified key priorities in the early education space to tackle collaboratively. Infant/toddler childcare affordability, access, and quality was identified as one of these strategic priorities and the Infant/Toddler Action Team was launched to move this work forward. 

Focus of the Work

Access to high-quality child care sets the foundation for a child to meet key developmental milestones. For infant/toddler teachers (or child care providers) job turnover is high and compensation is very low (typically in the range of $12 per hour).

The number of familes with infants/toddlers receiving public financial support is very low (less than 10%), and child care costs for families are very high; child care cost burden affects nearly 90% of infant/toddler families in Forsyth County. A family is considered to be experiencing child care cost burden when they must spend more than 10% of their household income on childcare.

The infant/toddler action team is working to build awareness about the issues of affordability, access, and quality of child care in Forsyth County.

Active Members

  • Child Care Resource Center

  • Department of Public Health

  • Department of Social Services

  • Forsyth Technical Community College

  • Smart Start of Forsyth County

  • Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools

  • CDSA

  • Church Child Care

  • El Buen Pastor Latino Community Services

Point of Contact

Adam Hill (adam@forsythfutures.org)

Tools and Resources

Cradle to Career

The 2020 Forsyth County Community Education Report

Sharing community information in an accessible and engaging way so that everyone can better understand our local systems of education.