Spring Newsletter 
Portland PreK Vision Casting 
On April 12th Starting Strong convened a group of stakeholders invested in Portland's PreK expansion efforts to meet with the team from School Readiness Consulting.  Working together, the group began developing a vision and guiding principles for Universal PreK in Portland.  This will help lay the groundwork for further understanding and development of a preschool strategic plan for the city. 
Upcoming Early Childhood Learning Workshop 

On Tuesday, May 22nd at 6 p.m. Starting Strong will host our next free monthly training workshop for early childhood providers. This is the first of two trainings led by Pam Leo, founder of the   Book Fairy Pantry Project, titled Connection Caregiving.  At the workshop, Pam will be helping participants learn how to create daily connection rituals to bring into their relationships with the children who depend on them. To reserve a spot email snicoson@unitedwaygp.org
Our Updates
Leadership Team 
Starting Strong's Leadership Team plays a critical role helping to govern our partnership. This spring, the team is working to ensure we are continually taking steps to help all kids be school ready and reading at grade-level by developing our Theory of Change. Through evaluation of the partnership's activities, the Leadership Team can feel confident STST is utilizing resources effectively to achieve results. 

PreK to Grade 3 Literacy
The PreK to Grade 3 Literacy work group hosted a number of focus groups with teachers, parents, and literacy coaches to analyze the achievement gap in Portland. Identifying major themes heard from each session, the work group will decide where continued efforts and resources should be focused in order to best address the achievement gap surrounding third grade literacy levels. 

School Readiness
This winter, STST's School Readiness work group utilized the  National League of Cities building block framework to identify the need for greater parent engagement in the younger grades. To address this need, STST is partnering with Portland Empowered.  Portland Empowered champions student and parent voice with a specific focus on engaging those who have historically been under-represented. In the coming months, Portland Empowered and Starting Strong partners plan to train a new cohort of parent leaders specifically focused on early childhood topics. This work will include shared space cafes discussing relevant topics faced for parents with young children. 

Summer Literacy
This March, five members from the Summer Literacy work group attended the Every Hour Counts Institute in Boston.  Attendees heard from communities and organizations from across the country who are partnering to improve quality out of school programs.  Featured at the conference was Boston After School & Beyond and their approach towards creating city-wide systems that support quality improvement and public/private partnerships. STST plans to implement key learnings from the institute and will begin working with local stakeholders to develop our own framework for quality and subsequent improvement efforts. 
Featured Work:

Starting Strong Reading Partners was piloted at Ocean Avenue Elementary in 2015 to give first graders who were reading below grade level extra supports through one-to-one volunteer partners. Thanks to amazing staff and volunteers, this program has flourished and continues to expand to other Portland schools. "It works. It makes a difference and is helping young students reach a level of proficiency" says Sylvie Montello after reflecting on the past three years of the program.  Read More 

To become a Reading Partners volunteer email 

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