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July 2020 - Preschool Promise News

Thank you for your interest in the Dayton-Montgomery County Preschool Promise. Though the pandemic has upended how our Preschools and child care programs serve children and families, Montgomery County’s early childhood professionals and advocates are working hard to ensure every child keeps learning — whether they remain at home or return to school.

In the face of COVID-19, we’re all pivoting fast and innovating furiously because children who start Kindergarten behind, too often stay behind.

We’re starting this new monthly newsletter to keep you current about the amazing work that is occurring across the Dayton community! We think you’ll be impressed with the commitment so many are making to young children.

Robyn Lightcap
Executive Director

Preschool Promise pilots in-home learning software

Child at computer “Summer slide” — the learning loss that children experience when they’re out of school — has been compounded by COVID-19. Young children who missed months of Preschool last spring and now are out of school for the summer will struggle to start Kindergarten on track. This is particularly true for our most disadvantaged young learners.

To encourage learning at home this summer, Preschool Promise is collaborating with the nonprofit Waterford Early Learning. Children participate in online learning 25 minutes each day, and coaches provide support to families. Those who need a computer or internet access receive a Chromebook and hotspot access. The curriculum focuses on basic reading, math, science and social-emotional learning. Thanks to private philanthropists who brought this resource to Ohio, Waterford’s UPSTART online platform is being provided free to more than 200 Dayton families between June 1 and August 31.

Dayton Foundation supports Preschool teachers

Debra Brathwaite To truly benefit from Preschool, young learners need high quality teachers and evidence-based instruction. But the profession pays so little — typically less than $15/hour even for teachers with college degrees — it’s difficult to attract and keep people in the industry.

The Dayton Foundation is generously helping Preschool Promise address this workforce challenge. Dr. Debra Brathwaite, a Dayton Foundation Del Mar Encore Fellow, will be leading Preschool Promise’s new “Promise Pathway.” The focus of this initiative is to increase the number of highly qualified Preschool teachers by creating career ladders, offering scholarships and grants for teachers to earn credentials and degrees, and identifying funding for salary stipends.

Del Mar Encore Fellows are highly skilled, older adults who are interested in using their experience to tackle important community issues. Debra, a former deputy school superintendent who has worked in Dayton, Cleveland, South Carolina and New York, is excited to leverage new partnerships, particularly with Sinclair College, to create a qualified Preschool workforce.

Welcome, Debra! Thank you, Dayton Foundation!

COVID-19 can't stop Preschool Promise coaches

Preschool Promise coaches Again and again, Preschool teachers say they love having a personal coach to help them improve their teaching. In partnership with 4CForChildren, Preschool Promise’s more than 80 sites get free coaching for their staff. But COVID-19 has kept coaches from working alongside teachers. Now thanks to Swivl™, coaches can observe classrooms from afar.

Teachers wear a microphone and a Swivl™ robot follows their voice, creating a videotape for the teacher and her coach to review. No additional exposure to teachers and children, no lost time to travel.

Our research shows that the children of teachers with coaches have stronger test results. We can’t let up on helping teachers be their best!
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