What will it take to create real change in kindergarten readiness?


When people ask me about early childhood in Escambia County, I tell them … I’ve never seen a community more committed to figuring out how to make things better.

And there's never been a better time for working better together.

Earlier this month, a cross-sector group of 40 child advocates, teachers and leaders came together to engage in an activity called collaborative goal-setting. 

It’s a transparent, collaborative activity designed to ensure engagement toward action plans.

The meeting was structured to reveal the kinds of questions we can’t answer by ourselves or within our singular organizations.

It was also intentional, because we know that team goals are best met when they’re designed in collaboration, rather than handed down from the top.

Ownership and accountability increase when the folks carrying out the action plans have an active role in identifying priorities and implementing a strategy to achieve the greatest outcome.

It may sound obvious, but the first step in collaborative goal attainment is collaborative goal setting. 

And, quite frankly, it’s time. When less than half of our children are ready for kindergarten, as the 2017 kindergarten readiness scores show, it's time to be bold, take calculated risks and engage in constructive disruption of our systems, services and programs.

Jill Thomas