This newsletter comes to you from First 5 California, the California Children and Families Commission, which provides services and support to ensure that children in California are born healthy and reach their full potential.
eNewsline provides updates about the Child, Parent and Teacher Signature Programs, and more. Please send any feedback to Susan Hyman.
Message from the Executive Director
On December 16, the U.S. Department of Education announced that California will receive $52.6 million in federal “Race to the Top” funding to improve the state’s early childhood education programs. California was one of only nine states to receive the funding in large part due to the success of statewide early learning initiatives supported by First 5 California.
Two First 5 California programs helped make California stand out among the 35 states applying for the Early Learning Challenge Grant. The first was Comprehensive Approaches to Raising Educational Standards (CARES) Plus, which works to improve pre-kindergarten teacher effectiveness. The second was Power of Preschool (PoP), which provides preschool in mostly low-income neighborhoods.
As to the next steps, First 5 California will work with state and federal partners on the implementation of a quality rating system for early learning.
This grant represents a major win for the children of California. I applaud the First 5 California Commission and the 58 county commissions for their leadership and proven innovation in developing and implementing these early learning programs.
Governor appoints new Commissioner
Governor Jerry Brown recently appointed Magdalena Carrasco to the First 5 California Commission. Carrasco has been a child development screening specialist at the Gardner Family Health Network since 2010. She was a program specialist at First 5 Santa Clara from 2008 to 2009, an engagement specialist at Santa Clara Family Health from 2007 to 2008 and a social work coordinator at the Department of Family and Childrens Services in Santa Clara County from 1994 to 2004. We welcome Commissioner Carrasco and are certain that her early childhood background will be a positive contribution to First 5 California.
First 5 Association leadership transition
Recently, Moira Kenney was appointed interim executive director of the First 5 Association of California, filling in for Sherry Novick, who left to take a position with Kaiser Permanente in Northern California. Kenney has served as statewide program director for the Association since 2005 and was previously executive director of First 5 San Francisco. A full recruitment is planned over the next few months to fill the executive director position permanently. For any questions, contact Association President Harry Freedman.
Jennifer Kent, Chair
Patrick Duterte, Vice Chair
Ex officio: Diana Dooley
Click here for bios.
Feb. 8-9 - Statewide Conference
April 18 - Commission Meeting
July 18 - Commission Meeting
Oct. 17 - Commission Meeting (Southern California)
(all meetings in Sacramento except when noted)
Redesigned Annual Report published
First 5 California touches the lives of millions of children and their families every year. The 2010-2011 Annual Report tells that story with both a state and local community voice.
Completely redesigned and streamlined, the First 5 California 2010-2011 Annual Report focuses on First 5 California programs and supportive services, including the Child, Parent and Teacher Signature Programs. The Annual Report includes profiles of local community programs, such as those supported by First 5 California’s Power of Preschool (PoP), School Readiness and the Comprehensive Approaches to Raising Educational Standards (CARES) Plus.
Still time to register for First 5 California joint conference, Feb. 8-9
The third annual First 5 California and the Water Cooler Joint Conference is just around the corner on February 8-9 in downtown Sacramento at the Sheraton Grand Hotel. Please come to hear from prominent experts in the field of early care and education, nationally recognized child advocates, political leaders and philanthropists, and more. Registration information is available online.
Keynote speakers include Mark Shriver, senior vice president for U.S. programs, Save the Children; Rob Reiner, founding First 5 California chair, child advocate, actor and director; Sterling Speirn, president and CEO, W.K. Kellogg Foundation; and Linda Darling-Hammond, professor of education, Stanford University School of Education.
Hands-On Health tour extended this year
First 5 California’s traveling exhibit, the Hands-On Health Express (see video), finished its 2011 tour in November, reaching about 85,000 parents and children statewide with its engaging activities focusing on the importance of nutrition and physical activity. A key component of First 5 California’s Parent Signature Program, the Express van also connects parents to important state and local health resources.
Parent website to be launched soon
Parents today face many tough challenges and choices as they raise their children. First 5 California’s new parent website (photo above), part of the Parent Signature Program, features tips, information and resources geared to parents of children ages 0 through 5.
UCLA survey reveals Kit for New Parents
a well-used resource
A recent survey of First 5 California’s Kit for New Parents demonstrates the high value of this product to parents, grandparents and caregivers of children ages 0 through 5 statewide. Full of advice, information and tips, the Kit is designed to reach California’s underserved communities. Three million Kits have been distributed free of charge through local hospitals, physicians and community groups over the last 13 years.
Power of Preschool provides high quality learning environments, UCLA survey finds
First 5 California’s Power of Preschool (PoP) program scored an average of 5 out of 7 in multiple areas of quality in 2010-11, according to a recent UCLA evaluation. PoP is a free, voluntary, part-day preschool for children ages 0 through 5 across eight California counties. The program actively helps to prevent the achievement gap and improves school readiness among disadvantaged and underserved communities. The program serves approximately 25,000 children and 500 centers statewide.
In November and December 2011, the UCLA Center for Healthier Children, Families and Communities reviewed county and local evaluator reports, interviewed county commission leaders and staff in PoP counties and analyzed data that First 5 California received from counties for the State Commission’s annual report to make its conclusions.