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February 20, 2009
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Fingerhut Meets to Discuss College Access Support
Adele Gelb and Adrienne O'Neill attended a meeting with Chancellor Fingerhut on Tuesday evening, February 17, 2009.  The subject of the meeting was a discussion of the Ohio Board of Regents continuing support for college access.
MRAG Americas Inc.
Uses SEP Research Paper

Hats off to Dr. Joseph Rochford. The Stark Education Partnership has been advised by Jill H. Swasey, Marine Scientist from MRAG Americas, Inc that the research methodology he invented used in a research paper entitled Meta Analysis of Literature on the Six Elements in the Safe Schools/Healthy Students Grant of the Canton City Schoolshas been adapted and used to conduct a review of resource management trends for coastal resource managers.

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Early Childhood Developments in Ohio: A Canton Perspective
Young Kids with Teacher Cheer
Early childhood experts and advocates have long touted the importance of building a comprehensive system of supports for Ohio's youngest citizens and among these groups, few have had the impact of the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Canton (SCF Canton). From their award-winning SPARK Initiative (Supporting Partnerships to Assure Ready Kids) with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, to ongoing support for Build Ohio and the formation of the state's Early Childhood Cabinet, to the Linking Ready Kids to Ready Schools pilot across ten communities, the foundation has been a major player in this arena.

From this unique perspective, ISSUES asked SCF Canton President Joni T. Close to comment on elements in Governor Ted Stickland's education reform plan and proposed 2010-2011 budget.

The budget includes some important first steps toward building a comprehensive series of supports - and it's not all about the dollars. In 2007, with the formation of the Early Childhood Cabinet, Governor Strickland brought together state department directors responsible for early childhood programs with an eye toward funding, aligning, and building an integrated system. In 2008, an Early Childhood Advisory Council, with representation from across the state, was appointed to provide advice and counsel to the Cabinet and support its goals:
  • Children will have high quality early care and education supports and environments;
  • Children will have supports and services to promote their comprehensive development; and
  • Families will have meaningful community and parenting supports.
The early childhood field has long been challenged with multiple programs across many systems which makes alignment of services to children and families difficult if not impossible. The Ohio Departments of Education, Job and Family Services, Mental Health, Health, MRDD, and others oversee programs and services for children and families. Historically, families with young children involved in multiple programs face conflicting rules and regulations and unclear entry points and requirements. In fact, one of the most critical changes that Strickland proposed does not have a dollar figure attached to it - but can benefit Ohio's children and families for years to come.

Governor Strickland, with leadership from the Early Childhood Cabinet and Advisory Council, created the Center for Early Childhood Development under the auspices of the Ohio Department of Education. This Center will have the authority and responsibility to implement and coordinate early childhood programs and services for children, prenatal until entry into kindergarten. This calls for the co-location of staff from various state departments into the Center.  

Governor Strickland is also working to codify the Early Childhood Advisory Council, which will ensure that this geographically diverse group of citizens will be in place for the long-term, to advise the state during the implementation and ongoing activities of the new Center for Early Childhood Development. In his state address, he reiterated the need to create a comprehensive P-16 system of education that focuses on the whole child - something Stark County residents have long advocated for.  

In addition, the Governor has included line items in his budget that will reduce our dependency on TANF dollars for children's programs, increase the state's investment in those services, and maintain eligibility levels for families receiving subsidized child care.

As the new center is established the Cabinet and Council will be reviewing existing state programs for children for inconsistencies across the state in quality and be making recommendations for improvements. In any case, the message is clear - Ohio's children, regardless of age, matter.
About the Partnership Long Header
The Stark Education Partnership, Inc., is a 501(c)-3 non-profit education reform support organization in Stark County, Ohio crossing the lines of 17 public school districts. The Partnership collaborates with educators, business, community and civic leaders to create and respond to opportunities that will add substantial and measurable value to education.

Questions or comments? Email aoneill@edpartner.org or call 330-452-0829. Visit our website at http://www.edpartner.org
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