2018 Annual Report A COMMUNITY AGENDA FOR IMPROVING
THE LIVES OF CHILDREN AND FAMILIES
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A Message From Linda Gleason

In 2018 the Cradle to Career Partnership of Fresno County (C2C) began to experience how our work is directly contributing to overcoming long-standing community challenges. We are no longer building siloed solutions, within sectors, that have limited effectiveness. Instead, we now have a strong cross-sector collaborative approach, focused on outcomes. In the past, every organization, small or large, created a strategic plan or set internal goals and objectives. Now, we have a shared vision that is moving us toward community plans where goals, budgets, and strategies are aligned. This shared purpose is allowing us to leverage the many advantages of collective impact across sectors.

Our community has always had programs and interventions with promise. What we have not had is a deeper understanding of why something is working or how it might fit into a larger picture. Now, C2C is consistently applying a systems lens to our efforts, together with concrete examples of measuring what matters and tying that data to a continuous improvement process.

For far too long our economic and academic data have clearly reflected disparities based on race, ethnicity, and income level. C2C partners are now facing this reality with courage and urgency. By putting race and equity at the center of our work, C2C is driving efforts in metro Fresno and our rural communities to develop actionable strategies for improvement, with special emphasis on the needs of families in poverty and children of color.

All of these challenges—work being done in isolation, independent planning, narrow use of data, racial inequities—have limited our ability to make a difference for children and families. Our mindsets and approaches are changing, and they are changing because of the deep commitment and collaborative spirit of C2C partnership members. We have come to a place where community transformation, always a dream for some, has become a goal for many. I am grateful for the deep commitment of all involved and look forward with growing optimism. This community has much to do, and we are showing that we are up to the task.

Linda Gleason
Executive Director, Fresno C2C

OUR VALUES

The potential of our children is our most valuable resource. Poverty cannot be a barrier to success and race cannot define opportunity. Education is the most effective ladder for children to reach their full potential.

C2C STRATEGY: COLLECTIVE IMPACT

Together we can do so much more than even the best of us can do alone.

Isolation

Individual pockets of excellence operate independently from one another.

Alignment

By partnering across sectors, resources can be aligned toward a shared vision.

Collective Impact

By sharing purpose and responsibility, aligned budgets and work plans have greater impact.

C2C GOALS: COLLABORATIVE ACTION AND CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT

Fresno Cradle to Career is a unique community-based partnership that brings together leaders, directors, managers and staff from ten sectors to collaboratively improve educational and health outcomes for all children in Fresno County.

C2C PARTNERSHIP SECTORS

  • Early Learning
  • K-12 Education
  • Post-Secondary Education
  • Housing
  • Health
  • Local Government
  • Public Agencies
  • Business
  • Non-Profit Organizations
  • Philanthropy
SEE OUR FULL LIST OF PARTNERS

"Fresno County is attracting attention and potential investment because of the cross-sector cradle to career focus that C2C has created, and the Community Agenda is a powerful statement that we are committed to, and have a shared vision for, the path to success for children and families in our community."

Ashley Swearengin,
President & CEO, Central Valley Community Foundation

PUBLIC EDUCATION SYSTEM
FRESNO COUNTY

TOTAL K-12 ENROLLMENT
204,418

“The health and wellbeing of all children and families is our priority and their educational success matters. Building relationships and trust across sectors allows us to bring our best to the design of effective solutions.”

David Pomaville,
Director of Public Health Administration, County of Fresno

CREATING THE ENABLING CONDITIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT

WHAT C2C SUPPORTS

Building trust and
shared purpose

Preconception-5 Blueprint for Funding and Advocacy

Our Community’s Commitment to Our Youngest Children

“First 5 Fresno County is a committed C2C partner and part of the Steering Committee for the Preconception-5 Blueprint. This plan is a great example of the collaborative spirit that has taken hold in our community to ensure children grow up safe, healthy and ready to succeed.”

Emilia Reyes,
Executive Director, First 5 Fresno County

The first five years play a huge role in setting the trajectory for a successful life. A strong focus on how we are serving young children and families makes sense. Their future and the future well-being of the whole community depends on it.

Data clearly shows that young children who have quality educational, social-emotional, and health experiences are likely to be ready for kindergarten. And, if they arrive kinder ready, they will likely be reading at grade level in third grade and continue to meet educational milestones. An on-track trajectory is a powerful force, one that is much easier to maintain than to create later in life.

How do we deliver the best possible opportunities for early learning, access to healthcare, nutritional supports, developmental screenings, and safe and secure housing?

The Preconception-5 Blueprint for Funding and Advocacy is a comprehensive plan representing an essential step in our community's journey toward cross-sector collaboration and collective impact.

The Blueprint has three components:
1) an analysis of public funding streams that impact children and families,
2) key drivers for optimal early childhood and program/workforce gaps,
3) community engagement findings on challenges/needs and service considerations/recommendations.

The completed plan will be adopted by the community in June 2019 and institutions, initiatives, agencies, and non-profits will be able to direct their strategic plans and budgets toward a shared agenda. The Blueprint is also designed to identify and align advocacy efforts.

Fresno Region College Pipeline Plan: College for Careers

Education, with an emphasis on post-secondary enrollment and completion, is the key to economic mobility. California needs 1.1 million more workers with bachelor’s degrees by 2030 to keep up with economic demand. In the Central Valley lack of BA degrees is estimated at 33,000 in just the urban Fresno area. Currently, only 22% of students in the Fresno region (Fresno, Clovis, Sanger and Central Unified) earn BA degrees.

The Fresno Region College Pipeline Plan is designed to create an integrated educational system from K-12 to community college, CSU/UC, and private colleges to ensure greater level of student success. The collaborative effort is focused on improving access to college, increasing the number of students who transfer from community colleges to four-year institutions, and boosting overall graduation rates. It is also critically important to recognize that the projected shortfall cannot be met without substantial progress in college graduation for low-income, first-generation, Latino, and African American students.

The project has identified several tactics and chosen Dual Enrollment as an initial focus.

“Talent exists in every single household. The key is to unleash the talent that each and every one of our young people has, and to help them flourish, grow and become leaders in our community.”

Joseph I. Castro
President, California State University of Fresno

SOLVING THE RIGHT PROBLEMS

See2Succeed

Children who cannot see properly cannot see the white board and fall behind in school. A California study indicated that 95% of first graders who enter public schools needing glasses do not have them. Parents may be unaware that their child cannot see well since to the child it is normal. Low-income families may not have ready access to vision care and may choose not to go to the doctor. This is especially true in rural areas where the challenges of poverty are intensified by the lack of services and transportation options.

See2Succeed began in 2014 as a workgroup of the Children's Movement of Fresno to improve third-grade reading outcomes. In 2016 the program moved under the Fresno Cradle to Career umbrella and received additional funding from the Fansler Foundation.

“The possibilities are endless for a child that can see clearly in their learning environment. We thank you, C2C and See2Succeed.”

Russell Freitas,
Superintendent, Firebaugh-Las Deltas Unified School District

Testing Ideas

Together for Students

In May 2018, Fresno C2C was one of 10 communities across the country to receive an approximately $150,000 grant funded by three national, education-focused nonprofit network organizations — the Coalition for Community Schools, Communities in Schools, and StriveTogether. The Together for Students Initiative was created to bring together local partners demonstrating the will and capacity to define what student-centered learning means in their community. Three schools in Washington Unified School District were chosen for the initiative: West Fresno Elementary, West Fresno Middle, and Washington Union High.

The project began with a review of school data and the identification of needs through multiple meetings with parent and student groups from three cultures dominant in the schools - African American, Latino, and Hmong. The findings were then shared and refined in community meetings that included school staff, parents and non-profit organizations. The rich insights included the need for more individual attention, cultural awareness, improved communication, and trauma-informed practices in the schools. It became clear that the use of individual learning plans for all students would help address many of the issues identified.

An initial group of district and school personnel, a parent, and a student met to develop a draft Individual Learning Plan (ILP). During October Parent/Teacher conferences a pilot testing of the ILP was conducted, with a total of 10 student/parent/teacher triads in grades K-5 at West Fresno Elementary School. Feedback from the participants led to a second ILP iteration and further feedback from the full community group of organizations and parents. A third ILP iteration will be tested in a second-grade classroom January – May 2019.

For a copy of the full report please contact Brooke Frost

Kindergarten Chronic Absence Pilot

“Identifying what works is a big part of what C2C is all about. By implementing promising strategies and measuring outcomes, C2C is helping to ensure effective opportunities for all students.”

Jim Yovino,
Superintendent, Fresno County Superintendent of Schools

If children are chronically absent in kindergarten only 41% read at grade level in third grade, according to national data from Attendance Works. If children are chronically absent in both kindergarten and first grade only 17% read at grade level in third grade. Parents are often unaware or do not understand how crucial regular school attendance is to the success and well-being of their child. Kindergarten today covers much of the material that used to be taught in first grade.

This pilot began in two elementary schools in Fresno Unified and expanded to include seven schools in the 17/18 school year. Parents of incoming kindergartners were given a 20-minute orientation on the importance of attendance including detailed handouts and tools to promote the practice of good attendance. All seven schools had significantly greater attendance by children whose parents attended the orientation and unexcused absences decreased. The orientation was especially helpful for first-time kindergarten parents.

The results have been promising, and the easy to duplicate pilot is now ready to expand to all interested school districts.

Identifying What Works

Rime Magic

Reading is an essential skill for school and life success. But many students struggle with decoding—understanding how letters translate into sounds and words. Children who go beyond third grade without mastering the ability to readily decode new words fall behind in school and data shows that they will likely never catch up. Rime Magic is a breakthrough resource for struggling readers that helps prevent low word recognition in grades K-2 and promotes decoding improvement in grades 3-12.

Two pilots have been conducted with a variety of students in different settings. An initial small pilot occurred at the Fresno County/Fresno County Superintendent of Schools (FCSS) Juvenile Justice Campus in 2017, and the results were so strong that a larger pilot was put in place at schools in Fowler Unified School District during the 17/18 school year. Second-grade students receiving Rime Magic at Malaga Elementary scored 300% better on the DIBELS reading test when compared to the control group. 100% of the special education students at Sutter Middle School either maintained or increased performance levels, and 20% of special education students met or exceeded standards on the California SBAC State test.

In 2018/19 school year, the use of Rime Magic has expanded within Fowler Unified and has been incorporated into several reading programs in Central, Selma and Lindsay school districts and the FCSS Juvenile Justice School.

Talk Read Sing

Studies show that young children need frequent language-rich interaction from birth to develop strong language and literacy skills. Infant human brains are wired through interaction. No digital screen can do this ‐ it needs to be human to human. In Fresno County, many children are getting much less language-rich interaction than they need to be successful in school and life.

Talk Read Sing (TRS) is a campaign designed to encourage parents and caregivers to do simple actions every day starting at birth — describing objects seen during a bus ride, asking questions, singing songs, reading aloud, or telling stories —all of which can significantly improve an infant’s ability to increase brain connections for word and math literacy.

The local campaign initially focused on media and general community awareness with posters and billboards. In 2017, the group began focusing on a more targeted approach to help people understand the media message. Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission (EOC) Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) developed a parent curriculum to use in their parent education workshops and shared the curriculum with United Health Centers WIC, Fresno Unified Early Learning trained 130 preschool teachers, and Fresno County Superintendent of Schools Migrant Education incorporated TRS into their home visitation programs. A pilot in a physicians’ medical practice began in January 2019.

Measuring What Matters

In addition to tracking core indicators, C2C also monitors data for contributing indicators. For the core indicator Kindergarten Readiness there are several contributing indicators, including the percentage of children enrolled in a quality preschool program and the number of programs that are committed to and achieving high quality.

The Quality Rating Improvement System (QRIS) rates early childhood settings using a matrix. Participating entities include family child care homes, private centers, State preschools, and Head Start.

Virginia Perez operates Manitas de Amor (Little Hands of Love), a family child care home in Parlier, a rural community southeast of Fresno. She has been in operation for 17 years and received a QRIS rating of five stars in 2017. Virginia believes it is important to start education at a young age so that children are prepared when they enter school. She also stresses the importance of learning social skills early. “I love children and I love what I do. I have had many students for years and multiple generations of students from the same family. Many go on to colleges and universities and one is now a fourth-grade teacher in Parlier.”

The Joyce M. Huggins Early Education Center, located on the Fresno State campus, provides early care and education programs and services for children of university students, faculty, staff and the community. The Huggins Center first received a five star QRIS rating in May of 2014. The staff believes the quality rating is important for several reasons:

  1. It educates the public about the importance of the quality of early education.
  2. With a framework and standards, it promotes the quality of early education for the individual programs and the whole early education system.
  3. It provides parents and other stakeholders with critical information for decision making.
  4. It holds program administrators, teachers, staff, and policy makers accountable.

Fresno C2C is part of StriveTogether, a national movement with a clear purpose: helping every child succeed in school and in life from cradle to career, regarless of race, zip code or circumstance. In partnership with about 70 communities across the country, StriveTogether provides resources, best practices and processes to give every child every chance for success.

As a member of the StriveTogether Cradle to Career Network, Fresno C2C is able to apply for funding opportunities and technical assistance to support improvement pilots and access up-to-date research and best practices from other network members.