Pre-K Alignment Team
Each year, about 1,000 families who request Pre-K services for their child will not have an opportunity to attend a Metro Nashville Public Schools Pre-K Program.
High quality early education provides significant long-term benefits however many of Nashville’s children will not have the opportunity to participate in a Pre-K program. Students who attend preschool get promoted from kindergarten to first grade at twice the rate of peers who don’t, and have better first-grade academic records. The vision of the Pre-K Alignment Team is that ALL CHILDREN ARE READY FOR KINDERGARTEN.
To ensure that all children are ready for Kindergarten, the Pre-K A-Team has developed a two –pronged approach to equip both parents/caregivers and early childhood educators to best prepare children for success in Kindergarten and beyond:
1) iTRAILS.org - Teaching Readiness skills to All families Integrating Lessons and Strategies – is Nashville’s Kindergarten readiness home page. The site and its development were made possible through a generous grant by the Healthways Foundation. This resource is a helping hand to parents and caregivers, community centers, home school programs, day care providers and early childhood educators while also providing supplemental resources to those enrolled in a Pre-K program.
FEATURES OF iTRAILS.ORG
- Virtual Pre-K Lesson Plans
- Safe Online Games and Learning Resources
- MNPS Kindergarten Registration Information
- Recommended Pre-Kindergarten Reading
- Links to Kindergarten Readiness Partner Resources
- Child Care Resources
- Pediatric Health Resources
- Community Events
- Story-Time Read Along Videos
- And more!
2) The Circle of Support resource guide was first developed in 2008 as a way to provide comprehensive information and support to early childhood educators across Davidson County. In 2015, the team created a new and improved resource guide including the most up-to-date resources and best practices as well as an expanded community resources segment populated by Kindergarten Readiness Partners engaged through the Invitation to Participate process. This guide has been designed to be useful to both Metro Nashville Public schools teachers and community early childhood educators in preparing students for entry into Metro Nashville Public Schools. The updated Circle of Support will be featured as an easy to access, downloadable tool for early childhood educators on iTRAILS.org.
FEATURED SECTIONS OF THE 2015 CIRCLE OF SUPPORT
- Developmental and Behavioral Concerns
- Building Relationships
- Best Practices
- Community Resources
- Learning Community
LONG TERM OUTCOME:
Increase High School Graduation Rates
In 2014-15 the graduation rate hit 81.3%, up from 78.7% in 2013-14, 76.6% in 2012-13 and 58.2% in 2003-04.
The Pre K Alignment Team knows that it will be some time before they are able to see the different the iTRAILS/KRP initiatives are making in increasing the graduation rates of participating students. However, it is important to note that iTRAILS, along with many other varying initiatives and solutions, are pointed toward the same long term result and harnessing the power of collective impact to achieve our community’s long term goals.
- 25% of entering Kindergarten students indicate that they participated in iTRAILS.
- 75% students who indicate participation with iTRAILS will score at or above median Kindergarten assessment scores (to be measured annually).
- Increase MNPS Median Kindergarten assessment scores by 5%.
The Pre-K Alignment Team, as we move into the third year of iTRAILS, will work with Metro Nashville Public Schools to determine the best way to measure and monitor students who have participated in iTRAILS as they move into MNPS Kindergarten classrooms and beyond. We want to monitor participation in iTRAILS but to additionally determine the impact this participation has had in overall kindergarten readiness and their ability to maintain any ‘head start’ gained by this participation as compared to their peers.
Additionally, the Pre-K Alignment team will partner with MNPS to determine the most effective ways to monitor the effectiveness of the Circle of Support resource guide. We want to show a correlation in the support it provides to early childhood educators and student, classroom and school success.
SHORT TERM OUTCOMES:
- 10% increase in knowledge and understanding of transition to Kindergarten among preview families
- 10% increase in knowledge and utilization of available services and resources for parents of Pre K age children among preview families.
- 20% increase in number of MNPS Pre-K partnerships
Additional outcomes to be measured:
- Increase MNPS and community early childhood educators’ awareness of available in and out of school resources by 20%.
- The Pre-K Alignment Team will distribute the 2015 Circle of Support resource guide in Fall 2015 and will begin to monitor progress toward this outcome.
- iTRAILS was able to engage 100 ‘preview’ families to pilot the site in its first year
- Focus groups of community early childhood educators and parents in Nashville have been engaged throughout the creation and implementation process to allow iTRAILS to best serve families and educators
- 120 + iTRAILS ‘followers’ in the Nashville area and beyond to receive the iTRAILS blog and site updates
- Metro Nashville Public Schools continues to utilize iTRAILS as the kindergarten readiness homepage for families with early children and as an ongoing resource and toolkit for MNPS early childhood educators
- Included in the NashvilleNext recommendations for Education and Youth, a plan created by Nashvillians for Nashville’s prosperity and well-being for the next 25 years.
- Featured as an early childhood collective impact initiative at the National League of Cities’ Congress of Cities in Nashville, November 2015.
- Featured in local news media through two articles in the Tennessean and a feature story on Channel 4 / WSMV.
- Featured on the Nashville Area Association for the Education of the Young Child (NAAEYC) webinar to Early Childhood Directors statewide in September of 2015.
- Can be accessed at www.itrails.org and is also available through a link on the Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) Pre-K Department page.
- MNPS Elementary Schools, Nashville Public Library and various organizations and agencies around Nashville display information and take-away flyers for iTRAILS.org.
Circle of Support:
MNPS leadership featured Circle of Support at a Fall 2015 teacher in-service and included an educational segment around this tool.
Nashville Area Association for the Education of Young Children (NAAEYC) will feature the Circle of Support in their newsletter as a useful tool for community early childhood educators.
The Pre K Alignment Team will continue to keep the iTrails.org site updated and look for ways to make even more families and educators in the Nashville area aware of this great resource. Additionally, the A-Team is looking for partnerships to transform the Community Events segments of the site and will likely roll out a new events page for 2016.
Interview with Stacey Nieman, M.Ed., President, NAAEYC
Pre-K Alignment Team Member
How did you find out about iTRAILS?
My first exposure to the iTrails site was at the first Pre-K alignment meeting I attended in early spring, 2013.
Which features of iTRAILS do you think could be beneficial to day care providers and community pre k sites?
The literacy activities are great! They provide teachers with activities that extend the experience beyond
the reading. The fact that the activities are meaningful, active and developmentally appropriate are terrific!
What do you think is most helpful in preparing students for kindergarten?
The family piece is essential! Parents get to spend time with their children while reading, playing, and moving shows children that learning is fun. And the idea that parents are sharing in this experience helps children to see how committed to their education parents are. In turn this helps children become prepared for school and the foundation for school success is set.
What can we do to make iTRAILS even more useful for community educators going forward?
I would like to see more social and emotional activities and ideas shared. Parents are their child's first teacher, however, many times parents do not have the knowledge or skill to help promote healthy social and emotional skills in their children.
PRE-K A-TEAM MEMBERS
Phyllis Phillips, Chair, Metro Nashville Public Schools
Flo Kidd, Chair, Metro Nashville Public Schools
Liz Atack, Vice Chair, Nashville Public Library, Bringing Books to Life
Cathy Pilkinton, Children's Kindness Network
Colleen Thomas, Metro Nashville Public Schools
Dana Eckman, Metro Nashville Public Schools
Debby Gould, League of Women Voters
Dee Kimbrell, Creative Genius in You
Jo Ann Scalf, Nashville Public Television
Joann Brannon, Metro Nashville School Board
Kendra Andersen, United Way of Nashville
Laura Bilbrey, Metro Nashville Public Schools
Lisa Wiltshire, Tennessee Department of Education
Lori Flemming, Metro Nashville Public Schools
Norma Mason, Tennessee State University
Pam Matthews, Head Start
Serena White, TN Early Intervention System
Stacey Nieman, Nashville Assoc. for the Education of the Young Child
Traci Bryant, Metro Nashville Public Schools
Vanessa Garcia, Metro Nashville Public Schools
Pre-K Participating Organizations
Adventure Science Center
Bringing Books to Life
Children’s Kindness Network
Creative Genius in You
The Discovery Center
Kid Central TN
Metro Nashville Public Schools
Nashville Public Library
Nashville Public Television
National Hook-Up of Black Women, Inc.
Share A Book
Tennessee Early Intervention Systems
Tennessee Electronic Library
Tennessee Voices for Children
United Way of Metropolitan Nashville
University of Tennessee Agricultural Extension Service
For more information, contact Heather Chalos, Chief Operating Officer.