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Early Bird

Early Bird Learning Adventures: A Michigan model in NC

Tri-Share advice from Michigan and 'Bright Futures' in Beaufort County

Early Bird readers, hello again. Newcomers, welcome! If you were forwarded this email, you can sign up here to receive it every two weeks, and join our conversation on issues facing North Carolina’s young children and those who support them. If you’re already a subscriber, please help us reach more people by sharing this with your friends and co-workers interested in early childhood education.

Joanna Shannon and one of her 4-year-old sons, who attends the school where she works, Genesee Academy, through the Tri-Share program. Liz Bell/EducationNC

Liz and I are feeling a little bit psychic these days. As she wrote in the last issue of Early Bird, we’re traveling around the country during the next few months to learn from states who are leading the way in early childhood policy and investment. Our first trip was to Michigan, where we learned how the MI Tri-Share model fits into the larger child care context of the state.

While we were there, the General Assembly finally dropped the budget, and guess what? The Tri-Share pilot from the NC House’s budget made it in!  It’s like we knew. ;)

You can read advice from Michigan and our takeaways in Liz’s piece. And continue following along as we travel by joining our new Early Bird Facebook group.

Kristen Riddle, Dr. Matthew Cheeseman, Dr. Norris Parker, Mark Doane, and me (Katie Dukes) on the first day of school in Beaufort County Schools, 2023-24.

As soon as Liz and I returned to North Carolina, I hopped in my car and headed to Beaufort County — my home away from home — to learn more about a program I heard of last month.

I spent the first day of school this year visiting seven schools alongside the delightful Kristen Riddle and members of the district’s administrative team (including Superintendent Dr. Matthew Cheeseman, who has my favorite social media handle on the whole internet).

At school after school, staff members kept popping out of the woodwork to tell the team that they got some donation from the community that made their day. An athletics director got a grill for an upcoming cookout, a principal got her hallways painted, a teacher got supplies for a student project.

I said to Kristen, “It seems like the community here really supports the schools.”

“Do you know about Bright Futures?” she asked.

Well I didn’t then, but I sure do now!

Bright Futures Beaufort County is a collaboration between the Washington-Beaufort County Chamber of Commerce and Beaufort County Schools that aims to meet the basic needs of every student.

As Chamber executive director Catherine Glover explained, “I know when I walk into those schools, from pre-K up, those students are going to be hopefully working at [a local business] one day. […] But if their basic needs are not met, how do we expect a student to be a productive citizen and give back to the community and be employable?” 

Read all about Bright Futures, and consider sharing with your local Chamber of Commerce.

Finally, a very special shout-out to Ashley Padgett and Laurel Paramore, two BCS superstars who are entering their retirement eras this week. Thank you both for everything you’ve done to support students, their families, and your community.

More from EdNC on early childhood

Budget has no state money to ease the child care financial cliff expected next year

Public funds propping up North Carolina’s child care network will run out at the end of June 2024 under the...

Advice from Michigan to North Carolina on how to split child care cost between government, business, and parents

Editor’s Note: Katie Dukes contributed reporting. North Carolina soon will launch a pilot at three local Smart Start partnerships based...

Perspective | Children, parents, schools, and funding 'cliffs'

A financial “cliff” hangs over infants, toddlers, and parents in North Carolina. When the pandemic-relief infusion of federal funding for...

Supporting 'Bright Futures': A Chamber of Commerce and school district team up to help make 'miracles' for students in need

For almost 10 years, the Washington-Beaufort County Chamber of Commerce and Beaufort County Schools (BCS) have worked together to meet...

Chirp! Chirp! Opportunities to share your voice

What are your thoughts on North Carolina piloting Michigan’s Tri-Share model? Let us know by replying to this email.

The big picture for little kids

Legislative Updates

We finally have a budget. Go here to read what it means for early care and education. Some key points:
  1. It does not include state funds advocates wanted to extend grants that providers have been using to remain open and retain teachers.
  2. Instead, it gives the Division of Child Development and Early Education (DCDEE) flexibility to use other federal funds for the grants.
  3. DCDEE told EdNC those funds will last through June 30, 2024.
  4. The budget also includes the Tri-Share pilot program, the model we just studied in Michigan.
  5. It includes $525,000 each of the next two years to support family child care homes and open new ones.
  6. It bumps up the rates Developmental Day programs receive from a max of $999 to $1,350 per child per month.
  7. It increases maximum classroom sizes for family child care homes (from 8 to 10) and NC Pre-K classrooms (from 18 to 20).
  8. It includes previously passed funds to increase subsidy rates ($32 million recurring in the first year of the biennium and $43 million in the second).

News & Research

  1. What America can learn from Canada’s new ‘$10 a Day’ child care system - From The Hechinger Report

  2. Opinion | Child care is expensive and hard to find. What can be done? - From The Washington Post

  3. Child Care Fiscal Cliff Looms For Working Families - From Spotlight on Poverty & Opportunity

  4. State of Babies Yearbook 2023 - From ZERO TO THREE

  5. 2023 Home Visiting Yearbook - From National Home Visiting Resource Center

  6. Characteristics of Classrooms in Center-based Child Care and Early Education Settings - From Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE), Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Taking flight! Opportunities to spread your wings

  • More than the baby blues: Ensuring new parents get the mental health supports they need - From Alliance for Early Success

    From the organizer: Thursday, October 5, 2023, 03:00 PM

    Mental health conditions are the leading drivers of the high maternal mortality rates in the U.S., with data showing that 1 in 5 women experience a mental health condition. Yet, 75 percent of those affected are left untreated. This session will be and introduction of maternal mental health and policy opportunities and community-based solutions to improve treatment and diagnosis. The webinar will be presented by Carmen Green, the vice president of research and strategy at RH Impact.

  • 2023 National Prenatal-to-3 Research to Policy Summit - From Prenatal-to-3 Policy Impact Center

    From the organizer: Thursday, October 12, 2023, 2:00-3:30pm ET

    Join more than 5,000 state lawmakers and advocates, researchers, and practitioners for a virtual event to hear which states did the most to help young children and their families thrive in 2023, and to learn about the newest research informing prenatal-to-3 evidence-based policymaking.

    The panel includes North Carolina’s own Matt Gross (assistant secretary of government affairs, NC DHHS) and Aly Richards, the CEO of Vermont-based Let’s Grow Kids, whom Liz and I will meet with during our upcoming Learning Adventure in VT. Registration is FREE.

Katie Dukes

Katie Dukes is a policy analyst at EdNC.