|Sisters of Charity Foundationof Canton, SPARK Ohio Spotlighted at Key Ohio Forum
Ohio's Forum will initiate focus on the important role of school leadership and seamless connections to assure that children are ready for schools and schools are ready for children. - Ohio Governor Ted Strickland
The importance of early childhood education and successful transitions to kindergarten and school is rapidly being recognized across the nation as states work to create seamless preschool through college (P-16) systems of education.
It was in this light that the growing impact of the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Canton (SOCFC) and its partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation on early childhood education was underscored last Wednesday in Columbus at a special forum convened by Governor Ted Strickland on Linking Ready Kids to Ready Schools.
Known as Supporting Partnerships to Assure Ready Kids or SPARK Ohio, that partnership has resulted in one of eight major multi-year efforts supported by Kellogg across the nation. SPARK helps children get ready for kindergarten by building reading, language, and social skills, and seeks to create a seamless transition into school for children, ages 3 through 6.
The Ohio Forum is one of five forums being sponsored by governors in selected states across the nation by Kellogg and the Education Commission of the States (ECS) with the focus of "link(ing) and improv(ing) education from early childhood through the postsecondary years."
Representing the governors of 49 states and three U.S. territories, ECS focuses on providing depth to major education policy issues, such as early childhood education, affecting all the states. Forums will result in reports circulated nationally.
Before policy leaders and education stakeholders from across the state, Ronald S. Young, President of SOCFC's Board of Directors related what has been learned from the SPARK Ohio experience. Participants also learned about a major new publication, Strong Beginnings, Smooth Transitions, Continuous Learning - the New Ready Schools Resource Guide for Elementary School Leadership that resulted from a collaboration of SPARK Ohio with the Ohio Association of Elementary School Administrators and the Ohio Department of Education.
Ten Ohio elementary schools will soon begin to use the guide to align curriculum, learning experiences and teaching strategies. More knowledge critical to the state and nation may well result from this effort.