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ICS Newsletter -  How We Spent Our Summer

As students and families get ready for the return to school - with all the excitement and nerves that come with it! - ICS wants to share with you how we spent our summer. It was less about beach reading, and more about policy briefs.
What Works for Third Grade Reading - This newly released series is a groundbreaking resource on research-based policy, practice and program options to states and communities working to improve third grade reading proficiency. The series was produced by ICS and the North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation, in collaboration with BEST NC, to support the work of the NC Pathways to Grade-Level Reading (Pathways) Initiative. The papers are online here. Follow #bthru8pathways on Twitter.

United Way of Coastal Fairfield County - ICS worked with the United Way of Coastal Fairfield County and Bridgeport's Collective Action Newtwork, Bridgeport Prospers, in the development of strategies to improve early childhood outcomes in the community. We worked with Bridgeport stakeholders to identify current community assets and needs and developed a theoretical "Bridgeport Baby Bundle" of services, which was well-received at a 100+ stakeholder meeting this summer.

Palmetto Shared Services Alliance: Palmetto Shared Services Alliance is a system of online and other supports designed to reduce costs, improve business practices, and strengthen the quality of child development programs and their employees. ICS has been involved in the project since 2014, when Derek Lewis of Greenville County First Steps traveled to Colorado with ICS's Jamie Moon to meet with representatives from a similar program, Early Learning Ventures. A first cohort of 40 child development centers are using the services, with a statewide expansion plan to reach 100 centers over the next 12 months. Learn more here.

Pay for Success Initiative: ICS announced the two jurisdictions chosen for technical assistance in our third cohort of feasibility studies funded by the Social Innovation Fund. The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS) will be looking at expanding two-generation evidence-based programs in the Family Drug Courts in order to address challenges that can persist after traditional family reunification programs for substance-using parents. The office of the Mayor of the City of Tallahassee is interested in expanding high-quality early childhood education for children ages 0-5, as measured by the Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) in Leon County's designated Promise Zone. Learn more about this cohort of feasibility studies, and catch up on the findings from the previous cohort.

ICS is continuing to work with Legacy Early College, a K-12 college preparatory charter school in our hometown of Greenville, South Carolina. Legacy Early College is exploring the feasibility of using the PFS financing to bring AppleTree Institute's pre-K curriculum to new 3K and 4K classrooms. Legacy is the recipient of one of eight feasibility study grants from the U.S. Department of Education. Learn more.

In addition to feasibility studies, ICS is working with the City of Spartanburg, South Carolina under a transaction structuring grant from the Nonprofit Finance Fund. The project is designed to provide a continuum of services, including home visiting and other parent supports, to young children and families in Spartanburg. You can learn more in the original ICS feasibility study developing this continuum and in this fact sheet on the project.

Small Talks: Champions! - In partnership with the University of South Carolina Champions for Young Children Summit, ICS co-hosted a luncheon session "Closing the Discipline Gap is the Key in Closing the Achievement Gap". The keynote speaker was Dr. Rosemarie Allen Metropolitan State University of Denver, who presented on the early childhood discipline gap. This was followed by an all-star panel of South Carolina experts: Darnell McPherson (Darlington County First Steps); Dr. Dee Stegelin (Clemson University); Dr. William Brown (University of South Carolina); and Amy Holbert (Family Connection of South Carolina). 

Recommended Reading

Our team may have left the world of summer book reports behind, but we've still been busy writing some "must reads!"

ICS Director of Policy Research Megan Carolan co-authored a chapter in a recently released textbook, The Handbook of Early Childhood Development Programs, Practices, and Policies. That tome seeks to be a "comprehensive review of current early childhood development theory, practices, policies, and the science behind them." Megan Carolan co-authored the chapter entitled "Publicly Supported Early Care and Education Programs." 

After the release of Annie E. Casey's KIDS COUNT report, which marked significant progress for South Carolina, ICS Board member Merl Code and ICS President Jamie Moon wrote in an op-ed for The Greenville News - "Like the leaders that met to create ICS over a decade ago, our state's policymakers, business community, and philanthropic institutions need to remain dedicated to -- and invest in -- this vision over the long-haul." Read the   full piece on how far we've come and how much further we have to go.

ICS partnered with the Rural Trust to contribute to their Why Rural Matters report on the unique challenges and needs of early childhood education in rural communities. The full report is available on our  website .

"'Our vision is the success of all young children,'" said Jamie Moon, director of the Institute for Child Success. It sounds simple enough, but this lofty goal begs one question - how?" You can find out in this write-up   in the latest edition of FOCUS on Pediatrics, the magazine of GHS Children's Hospital.

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