A Bit Better
News From First 5 Santa Cruz County
First 5 Santa Cruz County Releases
2019-20 Annual Evaluation Report
The Importance of Research and Evaluation
The process of program evaluation helps us monitor our progress, and helps us determine whether we are achieving our goals. Collecting and analyzing evaluation data from First 5 Santa Cruz County funded and operated programs allows us to:

  • Measure our programs’ accomplishments
  • Improve and expand our programs
  • Verify who we are reaching
  • Develop our strategic plan
  • Sustain financial commitments from partners
  • Foster and maintain community partnerships

The information that we gather from our funded programs not only drives our decision making and planning, but also tells our story. Every year, First 5 Santa Cruz County writes an Annual Evaluation Report that describes each of the programs that were funded that year, presents key results, and recognizes all of the accomplishments that were achieved. This annual report is available from our website, and also includes a brief Executive Summary that provides a summary of the entire report.
Santa Cruz County ACEs Aware
Network of Care Sessions Continue
Join us for the second session of the Santa Cruz County (SCC) ACEs Network of Care Learning Series on January 14, 2021, Connecting Across Sectors, presented by Wendy Ellis and Jeff Hild of the Center for Community Resilience (CCR) at George Washington University.

This bilingual, virtual event will build on the concepts and tools covered in the November 12 session on The Pair of ACEs in Practice. Join us as we continue to learn ways to address Adverse Childhood Experiences by addressing root causes and barriers in Adverse Community Environments through policy and practice changes.

"We look forward to working with all partners to advance our collective awareness of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and our ability as a community to collectively prevent them, and support the children, families and individuals who have experienced them.
~ David Brody, Executive Director of First 5 Santa Cruz County.
Supporting Early Childhood Educators
Due to the Shelter-In-Place order in the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic, many child care programs ceased in-person classes which made it necessary for teachers to transition to remote teaching as well as remote learning for themselves. As a part of our efforts to support the early childhood education community during this transition, First 5 Santa Cruz County’s Early Learning Foundations (ELF) department have been conducting virtual professional development trainings to child care providers to ensure that connection and learning could continue.

All SEEDS of Learning programs were updated to accommodate a Zoom format including: 1) “Diving Deeper into SEEDS of Early Math” for center-based Pre-K and TK teachers; 2) “SEEDS of Early Literacy” for Spanish-speaking family child care providers and 3) Diving Deeper into SEEDS for PreK center-based teachers. First 5 SCC Master Literacy Coach, Irene Freiberg tells us that the Zoom classes have been well received. “We have had to creatively engage students so they feel they are genuinely participating in a class and not just sitting passively looking at a computer screen. We realize that teaching styles of both class instructors and classroom teachers have had to evolve to ensure that young children, regardless of their situation, enjoy the experience of learning, while continuing to engage with their teachers and classmates. The focus of the Fall class has been how to include social/emotional learning (SEL) into teachers’ lesson plans especially for the distance learning classrooms while offering some literacy and math activities that are fun and meaningful for children. Many of our lab materials are planned with distance learning in mind and therefore SEEDS has focused on making and using lots of hands-on activities with a special focus on recyclable materials that children would have access to at home.”

Teachers have found teaching young children during this time of COVID challenging. The unique and intricate nature of the current situation means everybody has had to adapt.  Teachers have shared that they are thankful that SEEDS has offered this opportunity to interact with one another, ask questions of each other and share what they are doing in their classrooms:
  • “I like hearing the ideas of other teachers.”
  • “We’ve had to learn a total new way of teaching. I have gotten some really good creative ideas from the SEEDS class to use with my distance learning class.”
  • “The materials were wonderful. They helped me connect easier with my distance learning children.”

Quality Counts Santa Cruz County (QCSCC) has also moved to supporting programs through weekly director and teaching community update, hosted by First 5’s Quality Counts Program Manager, Meghan Reilly. The ever-changing landscape of COVID-19 California Department of Education recommendations are discussed along with best health practices for keeping children attending in-person as well as staff safe during the pandemic. QCSCC has also played an integral role in converting over $358,000 in First 5 California IMPACT and local funding into an Emergency Response Fund that has provided cash assistance to 212 child care programs (center-based and family child care) that are caring for the children of essential workers and at-risk populations during the pandemic.   
Community Announcements
Local Pediatric Dental Appointments Available
There are openings at local clinics for pediatric dental appointments for children 0 to 3. Please check out the flyer below for more information about the importance of bringing young children in to have regular dental checkups.
Local Assistance Available to Help with Health Insurance and CalFresh Applications
Having access to health insurance and food for our families is of vital importance. If you, a family member, friend or neighbor need help applying to or renewing an application to county or state health insurance program Certified Application Assistors can answer your questions and offer free application assistance? Call an Application Assistor directly at any of these agencies listed on this flyer for more information.
Triple P Positive Parenting Free Virtual Workshops posted on the Triple P Facebook page for upcoming workshops on parenting and stress management.
Community Resources
Parenting and Caregiver Resources

  • From the National Institute of Mental Health - Flyers on Stress and Anxiety in English and Spanish
If you are in need of child care,
please call the Child Development Resource Center
CZU Lightning Complex Fire Related Resources
COVID 19 Related Community Resources
  • Abriendo Puertas Shares Multi-Lingual COVID-19 Resources for Families: Website

  • Mental Health Tips & Local Resources for COVID-19 – ENGLISH & SPANISH  

This newsletter is a collaborative effort of First 5 Santa Cruz County staff.

PO Box 1457 Capitola, CA 95010

Tel: 831-465-2217 Fax: 831-479-5477
If you missed our last newsletters you can find them here: