63 St. Louisans Join Solution Teams & Design Council to Develop Solutions for Early Childhood Education System
July kicked off the design phase of the Tomorrow Builders Fellowship. 63 St. Louisans joined the Tomorrow Builders in the 5-month process of designing solutions for our region’s early childhood education system. After the Dream + Design Kickoff, Tomorrow Builders hosted the first of four Solution Team meetings and the first Design Council meeting the following week. Please join WEPOWER in welcoming these inspiring groups, committed to see equitable solutions through so that our youngest thrive!
Through an equity lens, each Solution Teams focus on the following areas, aligning to IFF’s recent needs assessment report, First Step to Equity. Teams determine scope, develop strategy and drive action. At the end of design process, the teams will celebrate the successful release of a playbook that inspires a strong network of St. Louisans to take action towards transforming the region’s early childhood education system.
“Missouri’s current lack of a common set of standards to measure ECE quality has left many families, providers, and funders uninformed. If we don’t have an objective, standardized way to measure and promote consistent quality for our children’s first educational experience, how can we be sure that they’ll be prepared for every other first in their life?” (First Step to Equity, page 24)
“ECE teachers and program leaders are at the heart of a strong ECE system — yet we have a staffing crisis on our hands. Low wages and a lack of benefits have caused high turnover rates in the ECE workforce, keeping qualified ECE teachers from staying in one place.” (First Step to Equity, page 20)
Funding & Access
“While there are 8,700 children in the St. Louis region who are eligible for state-subsidized ECE services, there are only 3,900 subsidized slots available.” (First Step to Equity, page 23)
Governance & Coordination
“If our goal is to build and sustain the ECE system throughout the region, we must invest in a formal, staffed entity to coordinate efforts and bring the voices of stakeholders to the forefront.” (First Step to Equity, page 26)
This was not explicitly named in the report, but we know it takes a village to support a child’s development. A holistic approach to supporting children and their families will be critical to create an effective ECE system. This includes addressing things like health and financial challenges impacting child and family well-being.
Members of the Design Council serve as advisors and vocal champions throughout the 5-month early childhood education systems design process.
5th District Councilwoman, St. Louis County Council
CEO, Clark-Fox Family Foundation; Founder, Build-A-Bear Workshop
Superintendent, University City School District
Executive Director of Student Services, Rockwood School District
President and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters or Eastern Missouri; Former Commissioner, Ferguson Commission
Director, Ready by 21
Deputy Superintendent of St. Louis Public Schools
Vice President, Aligned
Director of Advocacy, Deaconess Foundation
Executive Director, University City Children's Center; Chief Executive Officer, LUME Institute
Director & CEO, One to Grow On Childcare Centers
Principal, Normandy High School of Normandy School District
Tomorrow Builders Fellow; Family Partners Director, Southside Early Childhood Center
Associate Dean for Faculty & Research, George Warren Brown School of Social Work; Principal Investigator of Homegrown STL
Tomorrow Builders Fellow; Advocacy & Operations Coordinator/Community Leader in Residence, WEPOWER
Tomorrow Builders Fellow; Owner & Director of Alexus Palace Child Development Center