Ready to CELEBRATE? … Time to PURCHASE your tickets! …

… 20 years to celebrate and a future to believe in … Purchase tickets on-line here … Your purchase helps support the critical operational needs of our partnership …

During North Carolina’s Week of the Young Child, join the Board, Staff, and Friends of Smart Start of Forsyth County, Inc. for Invite Info Panel

Raising Forsyth
Tuesday, April 12
Bridger Field House
7:30 a.m.

Purchase your tickets on-line here!

For more information about sponsorships, visit Raising Forsyth Anniversary Breakfast Sponsorships and Raising Forsyth Sponsorship Letter Page_2Raising Forsyth Anniversary Breakfast Sponsorships

Watch this space for more information about our upcoming festivities!

A celebration of 20 years of making a difference in the lives of our community’s children, and their children!

  • Special  Guests:
  • Michelle Kennedy, WXII 12 News
  • Cindy Watkins, President, N.C. Partnership for Children, Inc.
  • Recognition of our First Generation of Volunteer & Professional Leaders
  • The view forward into our next generation of commitment to
    • our children succeeding, and
    • our families having the resources they need … to help …
    • our children thrive!

Seating is limited!

Your purchase helps support the critical operational needs of our partnership!

Attention, Parents! Atención, Padres! Time to apply for the 2016 – 2017 NC Pre-K program

… Aplicaciones de NC Pre–K para el año escolar 2016-2017 ya están disponibles … NC Pre-K applications for the 2016-2017 school year now available …Prek Flyer Spanish Version 2016 (Color)

It’s time! If you would like your child to participate in the NC Pre-K program, please visit “Apply Online” for more information.

Es tiempo! Si desea que su hijo participe en el programa NC Pre-K, por favor visite “Solicitud en Linea“ para obtener más información. Prek Flyer Spanish Version 2016 (Color)

And now a word from Alice ..

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… knowing ourselves and choosing the road forward …

Excerpts from Larry Vellani’s address to the Family Services, Inc., corporate family at its annual staff development day, Monday November 9. Thank you again, Family Services, Inc., President & CEO, Bob Feikema et al, for the invite! We could not be prouder to be your partner in progress for the children and families of Winston-Salem & Forsyth County!

I bring you today Greetings and two Messages from Wonderland, and its First Citizen, Alice!

’Who am I, that’s the first question …’DSC_0987

… and …

’If you don’t know where you are going, any road can take you there …’

We know who we are: One Community, Many Children

We know we are partisan: on the side of the children and their families whom we credit with potentials, intelligence, rights, and culture.

We know our road, one of:

  • Careful listening
  • Passionate friendships
  • Fortunate encounters

Furthermore, our road is heading toward:

  • A politics of the early years that holds together ideas & actions, quantity & quality.
  • An understanding that our world is changing: it is no longer a world of islands, and intervals, and spaces, and oceans, and mountains, and valleys, but … a world that is a web–a world in which we are all interconnected, and in which what affects one of us affects all of us!

The Universal Pre-K Effort underway in Our Community purports to make it possible–for any family that desires it–to have a high quality, early learning, center-based experience for their child in the year prior to Kindergarten.

We’ve already hit the road together—now let’s keep moving forward!

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For more information about the Universal Pre-K Work Group, contact Larry at 336.714.4365 or LarryV@SmartStart-FC.org; or Bob Feikema at 336.722-8173 or BFeikema@FSiFamily.org.

KBR Trust invests in SSFC’s My Teaching Partner Program

expanding teaching and learning staff by three professionals …

The Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust of Winston-Salem, NC announced on Monday May 11 that it plans to invest almost $200,000 over the next two years in SSFC’s My Teaching Partner Program.Flag4th-1

My Teaching Partner is a unique joint venture between SSFC and the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to develop stronger language and communication skills from birth, by improving the language-development and behavioral- interaction skills of early educators.

A CLASS Act
A key component of the program is the use of the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS).

The Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) is an evidence-based measure of the quality of behavioral interactions among the teachers and students, and a powerful tool to assist coaches and teachers in identifying specific behaviors to adapt or improve in classroom interactions, “directly associated with children’s performance.”

The CLASS focuses on the quality of interactional processes in the classroom. CLASS differs from other measurement tools that focus on the content of the physical environment, available materials, or a specific curriculum. For CLASS, the physical environment, including materials and curriculum, matter in the context of how teachers put them to use in their interactions with children.

“The CLASS dimensions are based on developmental theory and research suggesting that interactions between students and adults are the primary mechanism of student development and learning.” (Greenberg, Domitrovich, & Bumbarger, 2001; Hamre & Pianta, 2007; Morrison & Connor, 2002; Pianta, 2006; Rutter & Maughan, 2002) Two major studies of state-funded preschool programs provide data included in the Technical Appendix to the CLASS and CLASS-T manuals. (Robert Pianta, Karen LaParo, Bridget Hamre, “Classroom Assessment Scoring System Pre-K Manual”, Brookes Publishing, 2008. p.1)

Program Components
Prior to providing coaching and training, SSFC and FPG will conduct a pre-assessment using either the CLASS or CLASS-T, as appropriate, to establish a baseline of performance among participating teacher and assistant teacher.  SSFC’s coaches will use the results of the pre-assessment as an instructional tool to develop lead educator-specific, technical assistance plans.

Teachers and coaches will evaluate progress through the use of video clips that document teacher-child interactions and implementation of specific strategies.  Teachers will keep a journal to reflect on the process and their progress.

Once a month, teachers will complete a short survey to assess their own progress on the technical assistance plan, as well as usefulness of the coaching sessions.  The survey responses will serve as a formative evaluation and suggest on-going adjustments in the coaching protocols.

Upon completion of the nine-month coaching program, CLASS post-assessment scores will be compared with the pre-assessments of lead and assistant teachers.

Professional Learning Communities
Teachers will participate in self-directed, professional learning communities (PLC) without direct coaching.  The primary objective of the PLC is to promote collaborative learning among early childhood professionals in implementing key concepts associated with teacher-child interactions. The members of the professional peer group will provide support and mentoring for each other.  The members of the cohort in year one will continue in the PLC along with the teachers who enter the program in year two.

FPG and SSFC will gather outcomes, comparing teachers’ reports of their perceptions of their knowledge and skill in supporting language and communication development among infants and toddlers before and after participating in one of FPG’s large-group MTBT trainings prior to the selection of the cohort members.

FPG and SSFC will work together to assess the quality of language interactions, focusing on examining the dimensions of “Facilitated Exploration and Early Language Support,” and the dimensions of “Facilitation of Learning and Development,” “Quality of Feedback,” and “Language Modeling,” as those dimensions reflect various characteristics of the quality of teacher-child language interactions.

In addition, FPG and SSFC will use the Coaching Rating Scale to measure the coaches’ fidelity to the coaching model of planning, observing, practicing, reflecting, and discussing feedback in two ways.

(1)      The coaches’ monthly logs, describing their interactions with teachers, and the monthly coaching meetings. The logs and the meetings will help identify any challenges coaches are facing in supporting teachers and allow for problem-solving with the coaches to optimize teacher-coach interactions, thus providing teachers with the best support possible to engage in effective language interactions with children.

(2)      Use of the Coaching Rating Scale (CRS) (Rush & Shelden, 2011) to examine how consistently coaches are using the coaching model when working with teachers.

As a two-year, two-cohort program, the information gathered from the first cohort, e.g. teacher perceptions of knowledge and skill, observed teacher-child language interactions, coaching logs, Coaching Rating Scale, etc., to make value-added adjustments in the program. (Neblett-Gardner, 2015)

The State of Forsyth County
There are 111 licensed childcare centers in Forsyth County serving 6,498 children from birth to five years. In the course of a business cycle, our teaching and learning specialists work with approximately 40 (44%) of the centers to improve the quality of learning environments through coaching, training, and financial incentives—approximately 600 of the almost 1400 early educators in Forsyth County. All of the centers receiving technical assistance serve children who are receiving means-tested, childcare scholarships through SSFC or DSS.

The current system of measuring program quality in licensed centers focuses primarily upon structural components of the classroom, such as number and type of learning materials, daily schedules and routines, and classroom hygiene and furnishings.

Teachers who adopt specific language and gesture skills:

  • ensure that each child enjoys warm, supportive relationships among teachers and peers;
  • ensure that there are frequent displays of positive affect by the teacher that include smiling, laughter, and displays of enthusiasm;
  • provide frequent positive verbal and physical communication with the children that include physical affection and positive expectations; and
  • model for and guide fellow teachers and children in consistent demonstrations of respect for one another through eye contact, respectful language, and cooperation and sharing.An important research finding indicates that teachers in average quality classrooms had the strongest scores on behavioral/social-emotional support, but low scores associated with “engaged support for learning.” (“Observed Quality and Psychometric Properties of the CLASS-T in Early Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey,” Bandel et al., May 2014) That finding suggests that technical assistance focused on structural environmental elements alone is not enough to ensure that teachers consciously interact with children in ways that facilitate more meaningful advances in children’s cognitive, emotional, and language development.Research shows that training followed by coaching can offer teachers the support needed to improve performance and increase competence and confidence (Rush & Shelden, 2011), which enables teachers to successfully implement newly learned skills and practices. (Fixsen et al., 2005; Joyce & Showers, 2002)

Employment opportunities
We are now accepting resumes for up to three (3) new Teaching and Learning Specialists positions:

  • One (1) full-time position to provide mentoring/coaching and classroom assessments to support early childhood educators in Forsyth County.   This position requires a master’s degree, and current B-K license. Experience with mentoring/evaluation through DCDEE/EESLPD and knowledge of Foundations of Early Learning and Development (NCFELD) is desired.
  • Two (2) positions are part time (30-35 hrs. /wk.) to provide coaching and mentoring using the CLASS assessment. These positions require a BA/BS in early childhood. A master’s degree and B-K license is preferred.   Knowledge of DCDEE star-rated licensing and ERS assessments is required.   Experience working in an early childhood classroom setting and/or working with childcare providers is required.
  • All three positions will require excellent writing and speaking skills.

Send a letter of introduction and resume to: Smart of Forsyth County, Inc., 7820 North Point Blvd., Suite 200, Winston-Salem, NC 27106, Attn: Jenny Whitley, Director, Teaching & Learning Services.

For more information, contact Jenny Whitley, Director, Teaching & Learning Services, JennyW@SmartStart-FC.org or 336.714.4344.

 

Time to apply for the 2015-2016 NC Pre-K program

NC Pre-K applications for the 2015-2016 school year now available …

It’s time! If you would like your child to participate in the NC Pre-K program, please visit “Apply Online” for more information. 34c1b149178aa6170c002dd898f4f860

 Aplicaciones de NC PreK para el año escolar 2015-2016 ya está disponible

Es el momento! Si desea que su hijo participe en el programa NC Pre-K, por favor visite Solicitud en LineaPrek Flyer English Feb 2015 para obtener más información.Prek Flyer Spanish Feb 2015

New NC Poll Finds Major Support for Early Childhood Education

… David Plyler, Forsyth County Commissioner, publishes local op-ed piece citing voter support for action at state and federal levels …

DavidPlyer&JackRegisterCCN-Kville

From the left: Grandson Jack Register with Grandfather David Plyler

A new non-partisan North Carolina poll finds that North Carolina voters view early childhood education as a critical issue in the state and across the nation. Majorities of Democrats, Republicans and Independents support investments in early childhood programs in the state – including expanding access to Smart Start, Pre-K, teacher training and home visiting programs.

544a862293ade.imageForsyth County Commissioner, David Plyler, penned an op-ed piece highlighting the significance of these findings, which appeared in the Sunday October 26 edition of the Winston-Salem Journal.

More than four in five (83%) of North Carolina voters believe that investments in early childhood programs will benefit North Carolina’s economy in the short and long term. Voters ranked ensuring children get a strong start as a top priority for policymakers, second only to jobs and the economy and well ahead of reducing the tax burden on families. The poll was conducted by the bipartisan team of Public Opinion Strategies and Hart Research for the First Five Years Fund and the North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation

The poll comes on the heels of unprecedented state action on early childhood education across the nation –in red and blue states alike. In North Carolina, Republican Governor Pat McCrory signed a 2014-2015 fiscal year budget, which provides an additional $5 million for the state’s public prekindergarten program, NC Pre-K. Only 23 percent of 4-year-olds in the state are currently enrolled in NC Pre-K. Voters want more. Three-quarters said they support expanding access to the NC Pre-K and Smart Start programs so that more children in the state can participate in them.

Voters are very concerned that children get a strong start in school and see high quality early childhood education as the answer. In addition to expanding access to Pre-K and Smart Start, 88 percent want North Carolina to invest in training and classroom resources so that all pre-school and early elementary school teachers are able to teach each child in a way that addresses their individual needs and ensures they have a strong start in reading and school.

Flag4th-1Nearly three-quarters of North Carolina voters (71 percent) support greater federal investment in early childhood education if it increased the deficit in the short term but paid for itself in the long term by improving children’s education, health and economic situations. Earlier this year, a national poll commissioned by The First Five Years Fund found that 71 percent of voters – including 60 percent of Republicans – support greater federal investments in early childhood education.

Research from Nobel Prize-winning economist Professor James Heckman documents the outstanding economic return on investment from early childhood education. Investing in high-quality early childhood education for disadvantaged children from birth to age 5 yields a 7-10 percent return – per child, per year – through improved education, health, social and economic outcomes as well as the reduced need for social spending.

 

5K & Family Day / Festival Familiar Saturday November 1 at BB&T Ballpark

… Festival theme READYSETREAD / en sus MARCASLISTOSLEA says it all …

On Saturday November 1, 2014, we will begin a year of celebration and reflection on our work—and the work of our public and private partners–over the past generation to build and sustain an affordable, comprehensive, high quality system of early childhood development and learning, capable of serving every family in our community.Espanol

At our kick-off party, you can have your calories AND lose them too! Nothing like a nice brisk 5K or 1K Fun Run to whet the appetite for a traditional stadium ‘dog and drink! It’s not too late to register your feet or your TEAM’S feet!! To register for the morning 5K run/1K walk-run, visit our event partners, Precision Timing Systems, Inc., http://www.precisiontimingsystems.com/racecalendar.htm?evrec=E430

The Bark Point Ramblers, Dashville Cats, Donnaha Station, Jacob the Mime, A. V. Alvarado, Anthony Vasquez—these artists are among the headlining performers who are already secured for the entertainment program.

A host of public, private, and community organizations have already committed to having booths, providing information, children’s events, as well as public health screenings, for children and families–all with a special focus on the importance and special power of active, engaged reading in the family life of young children. To book exhibit or display space for your organization or agency, contact Jackie Lofton at 336.714.4349 or JackieL@SmartStart-FC.org.

As much as birthdays matter, where would we be without the fine businesses and individuals who help plan and support the party! A partial listing of our growing sponsor community and their Roll-to-Run Sponsorship Levels_5K and Family Day include:

RUN
Kaplan Company, Inc.
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center

WALKReady Set Read Run Poster - Black
Hatch, Inc.
SSFC Board of Directors

STAND
BB&T
Church Child Care Center, Inc.
Elite Benefits Group, Inc.
Fleet Feet Sports, Inc.
Hanesbrands, Inc.
IESS, Inc.
Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust
SSFC Staff

CRAWL
A Child’s World Learning Center, Inc.
BrookStone Technology Services, LLC
Community Employee Benefits, Inc.
Duke Energy
Hege Financial Group, LLC
Lakeshore, Inc.
WFDD Public Radio for the Piedmont, 88.5-FM

ROLL
Crowne Apartments, Inc.
Goslen Printing, Inc.
Northwest Community Care Network
ONE Resource Marketing, LLC
Piedmont Parent, Inc.
Security National Properties, Inc.
The Speech Lady, PLLC

SPECIAL THANKS
Bark Point Ramblers
David Plyler
Leo Rucker
MusikGarten
Phillip Fullerton
PNC Bank

To lend your name, or the name of your business or philanthropy, to our first-ever Family Day Sponsor Team, please consider one of our sponsoring levels, and call Jackie Lofton, 336.714.4349.

… en sus MARCAS … LISTOS … LEA!!

SmartStart-ReadySetRead-RGB-300dpi

Here’s a sneak preview of the day’s program … Come on out November 1, and see and hear and learn for yourself!

WELCOME  ~ BIENVENIDOS

Entrance Lot
8:45       Mayoral Proclamation ~ Proclamación de la Alcaldía
9:00       1K Fun-Run
9:10       5K Run

Home Plate Stage
9:45       Race Awards  ~ Premios de Carreras
10:00    Bark Point Ramblers
11:00     Dashville Cats
11:45     Felder & Chambers
Noon    Donnaha Station
1:00      A. V. Alvarado y Anthony Vasquez

Outfield Dance Concourse
10:30     Carolina Stars

Press Box Concourse
Silent Auction ~ 9:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ~ Subasta Silenciosa

Throughout the Ballpark
Please visit and enjoy our vendors ~ 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. ~ Por favor, visite y disfrute de nuestros vendedores!

Gracias ~ Thank you

Smart Start of Forsyth County turns 20!

… 20th anniversary year kicks off with “Ready, Set … Read! – 5K and Family Day” at the BB&T Ballpark on Saturday November 1 …

Birthdays matter a lot to children and parents!Puzzle20County+

Birthdays present us the opportunity to celebrate all of life’s learning and struggle, progress and growth—a chance to reflect on where we have been and where we are going.

On December 1, 1994, then North Carolina Secretary of State Rufus Edmisten affixed his signature upon the articles of incorporation of the Forsyth Early Childhood Partnership, Inc.–our original corporate name. Submitting the materials on our behalf was Winston-Salem attorney Ranlet S. Willingham, who had signed the incorporation articles on behalf of our founding board of directors on November 30, 1994. (Founding Board of Directors)Jackie'sImage

On Saturday November 1, 2014, we will begin a year of celebration and reflection on our work over the past generation—and the work of our public and private partners–to build and sustain an affordable, comprehensive, high quality system of early childhood development and learning, capable of serving every family in our community.

Our celebration begins with “Ready, Set … Read! – 5k and Family Day,” a fun and learning-filled day in and around the BB&T Ballpark in downtown Winston-Salem on Saturday November 1. His Honor Mayor Allen Joines has already committed to helping us recognize the race winners, as well as recognize our special anniversary, complete with special municipal proclamations and the naming of “Smart Start Boulevard” at the intersection of West Fourth and North Broad Streets (Proclamations for Honorary Street Sign & Day of Recognition). A host of public, private, and community organizations have already committed to having booths, providing information, children’s events, as well as public health screenings, for children and families–all with a special focus on the importance and special power of active, engaged reading in the family life of young children.

And did we say that there will be food, music, and entertainment for children of all ages?DSC_0569++

What can YOU do? Mark your calendars NOW to attend “Ready, Set … Read! – 5k and Family Day!”

To book exhibit or display space for your organization or agency, contact Jackie Lofton at 336.714.4349 or JackieL@SmartStart-FC.org.

To register for the morning 5K run/1K walk or fun run, visit our event partners, Precision Timing Systems, Inc.http://www.precisiontimingsystems.com/racecalendar.htm?evrec=E430

To lend your name, or the name of your business or philanthropy, to our first-ever Family Day Sponsor Team, please consider one of our sponsoring levels.

Still have questions? Call or write Jackie Lofton at 336.714.4349 or JackieL@SmartStart-FC.org.

Espanol

 

SSFC receives recognition as “Family Friendly Workplace”

… September issue of Carolina Parenting features SSFC along with the other award-winning, distinguished businesses …

Carolina Parenting, Inc.,  has chosen SSFC as one of the 2014 N.C. Family-Friendly 50 Companies, the annual recognition of companies of all sizes that help2014_08_260 working parents by providing family-friendly benefits, policies, and work environments.

Not only were we an honored recipient, but a bit of our corporate story was featured in the following video, along with the logos of all the 2014 winners: NC Family-Friendly 50 Companies!

Here’s the latest on the awardees from the Piedmont Parent website.

The 16th year that Carolina Parenting Inc., is honoring North Carolina businesses as family-friendly workplaces. the winning companies are featured in the September magazines and online.

Carolina Parenting Inc. is a parenting media group that publishes Carolina Parent, Charlotte Parent and Piedmont Parent magazines, annual guides, websites and other digital media.

A special “hats off” to Jackie Lofton, director of advancement and professional outreach, for organizing our application!

To review the staff testimonial section of the nomination, click SSFC Family Friendly Nomination Testimonials.

Here’s some scenes from the visit by Chip White and the White Ideas video production team to our offices on Wednesday August 6 to produce the segment about SSFC … The Production Team … … and … The Supporting Cast … and a video about the 2013 winners.

 

Smart Start honors Spirit Award winners at 17th annual early learning professional development conference

… Gwen Walter honored as Early Education Leader of the Year …

DSC_0854+To the praise and applause of more than 150 of their peers, five of Forsyth County’s most outstanding early educators received professional honors at the 17th annual early learning professional development conference.

Four early educators received Spirit Awards: Christine Harrold, First Steps Preschool; Edith Jones, R U Happy Family Child Care Home; Lisa Ferguson, Little Geniuses Family Child Care Home; and Montrea Grinton, A Better World Learning Center.

DSC_0888+The 2014 Outstanding Early Education Leader award went to Gwen Walter, MEd, retiring this year after twelve years of service on the early education faculty at Forsyth Technical Community College. Earlier this year Gwen had also served on the Forsyth County NC Pre-K Site Selection team.

“Gwen Walter epidomizes a master educator of adult learners: patience, respect for the multiple demands and challenges confronting the adult learner, and a passionate dedication to the intellectual uplift of our early education work force,” according to Vanessa Sawyer-Wilson, conference organizer and SSFC coordinator of teaching and learning services.

Smart Start of Forsyth County, Inc. (SSFC) established the Early Education Spirit Awards in 2008 to honor outstanding service and inspiring example among members of Forsyth County’s early educator corps. A selection panel, convened by SSFC and chaired by Vanessa Sawyer-Wilson, MAT, chose from among this year’s nominees. Serving along with Vanessa were Betty Nelums. Provider Specialist, Work Family Resource Center, Inc. (WFRC), Karatha Scott, MEd, a member of the early education faculty at Forsyth Technical Community College; and the Teaching and Learning Specialist Team at SSFC: Amy Queen, Olivia Summers, Sherri Jones, and Teresa Cox.

Vanessa Sawyer-Wilson and Betty Nelums co-chaired the awards ceremony which was part of the conference’s concluding banquet.

DSC_0743Under the theme is Spotlight on Brain Connections, the 17th annual early learning professional development conference featured a keynote address by Beth Moore, MEd, a member of the Board of Directors of the North Carolina Association for the Education of Young Children (http://NCaeyc.org), as well as the Partnership for Children of Johnston County, Inc. (http://www.pfcjc.org/).

In addition to her leadership in NCaeyc, Beth Moore is the Senior Director of Little Stepping Stones Child Development Center, Inc., in Garner, NC. Beth is also on the capital campaign committee for The Partnership to Build a Miracle, a joint venture of the local United Way and the Partnership for Children in Johnston County to build a local park and baseball field for children of all abilities.

“It is my strong belief that all children deserve a safe place to play together,” said Beth.

Following Moore’s keynote, conference attendees chose from among a selection of presenters and topics:DSC_0800+

  • Benny Ferguson: Designing the Mind for Success,
  • Gwen Walter: Girl Brain, Boy Brain – Is There a Difference
  • Judy Hoskins: Brain Connections Through Transitions,
  • Pat Minter: Let’s Get Physical & Increase Learning,
  • Romy Allen: Designing Meaningful Pre-K Curriculum – Understanding the Content, and
  • Sharon Carter: Classrooms That Promote Positive Brain Development

DSC_0839++ DSC_0846 DSC_0852

Betty Nelums & Vanessa Sawyer-Wilson making the 2014 Spirit Award presentations to Christine Harrold, Lisa Ferguson, Montrea Grinton, Edith Jones, and Gwen Walter, respectively.

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To view almost 200 images of the 17th Annunal conference, click here.