In its first year of operation, the CELC exceeded its principle
outcome goal by serving 106 additional children.
As the Community Early Learning Center of the Fox Valley (CELC) completes its fifth year of operation, we reflect on the range of outreach activities that have marked the years since opening.
One of CELC’s outcome goals was to “engage in community outreach and coordinate …efforts with the FVECC (Fox Valley Early Childhood Coalition).” We hope this sampling demonstrates the wisdom of our founders and co-locating partners in seeking this unique pull-together center and the power of collaboration for the benefit of children and families in our community and beyond.
Year Two & Three
Outcome Goals and Findings
Goal: CELC partners will demonstrate progress toward the use of evidence-based practices for social and emotional development in young children through implementation of the Pyramid Model for Social and Emotional Competency.
Use of the Wisconsin Pyramid Model for Social and Emotional Competency is a priority initiative in the CELC collaboration work. Two of the co-locating agencies who serve children on-site have worked within their agency toward program wide implementation of the evidence-based practices associated with Pyramid Model in classrooms. The Project Bridges Day Care and Preschool and UW-Oshkosh Head Start - CELC each have a site based leadership team that uses program specific data to support their agency implementation. A third CELC agency, Appleton Even Start Family Literacy (ESFL) was focused during the 2015-2016 school year on professional development so that they are prepared to implement Pyramid Model practices during the 2016-2017 school year.
Goal: CELC staff will recognize the benefits and concerns of collaboration with co-locating programs. Stakeholders will be made aware of the successes and challenges of collaborative efforts at the CELC.
The Community Early Learning Center (CELC) is not only committed to providing affordable, high quality care and services for children and families, but also to promoting the efficiency of the programs within the CELC. Housing five programs in one building, the CELC provides ample opportunities for collaboration between co-locating programs. CELC staff who were surveyed in its inaugural year, 2014-2015, regarded the collaboration as highly positive, reporting that it made more resources accessible and services available to the families served by the CELC, and led to more productive work and professional learning opportunities for staff. This year, the CELC again assessed the efficacy of collaborative efforts by surveying administrators, teachers, and staff within the CELC regarding the successes and challenges of the second year of collaboration.
Survey Parents Bi-annually
Goal: The CELC will do parent surveys bi-annually to identify successes, challenges, and goals for the future.
During the 2016-2017 school year a parent survey was conducted using many of the same questions as in the initial survey from 2014-2015. The survey was administered electronically using Qualtrics (www.qualtrics.com) with follow-up paper copies made available to parents. Three-hundred eighty survey links were emailed to families, with some families having more than one email address and being contacted through more than one outlet. Overall, 168 surveys were completed (91 online, 77 paper).
Outcome Goals and Findings
In the 2014-2015 school year, the CELC’s first year of operation, four outcome goals were set and assessed by the CELC Research Committee and CELC Partners: Appleton Area School District (AASD) Birth to 5 Programs; Even Start Family Literacy Program, Head Start, Project Bridges Child Care and Preschool, and Outagamie County Birth-to-3 Early Intervention.
CELC agencies ensure affordability of quality services through a variety programs with no fees for families who meet federal poverty income guidelines (e.g., Even Start and Head Start) and financial assistance ranging from sliding fee programs, scholarships, and fee waivers.
The outcome goals and findings are described briefly below. A link to a full report on the Outcome Findings is provided at the end of each Outcome overview.
The first goal involved increasing access to quality childcare and measuring parental satisfaction with access and CELC services. Specifically, the objectives were to:
Add about 100 slots in CELC programs and to increase opportunities for families to access the screening, diagnostic, and family services CELC partner agencies provide.
Survey parents to determine whether they were satisfied with both access and services.
Access Findings: In its first year of operation, the CELC exceeded its principle outcome goal by serving 106 additional children. For example, Project Bridges increased enrollment by about 75% due primarily to increased 4K slots, while Head Start increased enrollment by 12%.
Parent Survey Findings: Parents were surveyed regarding their satisfaction with the CELC. Parents saw the CELC as a welcoming place and reported high levels of satisfaction with services, including resources provided, the facilities themselves, and how CELC staff helped them connect with other services.
Families also reported high levels of satisfaction with their specific CELC program and felt that they were treated as a respected partner by staff. Overall, parents (97%) affirmed that their CELC program met or exceeded their expectations and 99% agreed that CELC was helping their child develop positively.
The majority of parents (64%) reported no concerns or unmet needs; the most common requests were for additional programming and events.
Comparisons based on family socioeconomic status (SES) revealed some areas where low SES parents were significantly more satisfied with programming and feedback than higher income families. Families of all SES levels were quite satisfied, so this finding affirms the CELC goal of being a welcoming and inclusive place for all families.
Outcome two focused on increasing developmental screenings with the goals to:
Increase the percentage of children screened prior to entering kindergarten by 10% each year until over 90% of children in the Fox Cities area receive a screening prior to entering kindergarten.
Promote screening of children at earlier ages.
Screening Findings: In 2013-2014, the year prior to the opening of the CELC, 1,221 total children were screened by the CELC agencies. After the opening of the CELC in September 2014, this number increased by 14% to 1,392 children screened during 2014-15. The CELC collaboration surpassed their goal of increasing screenings by 10%.
Increased screening was accomplished in part by AASD’s Developmental Screening Program (ages 3 to 5) and Early Intervention (birth to age 3) collaborating to offer universal screening days each month which allowed the birth-to-5 population to be screened simultaneously. In the first year, there were 8 universal screening days at the CELC and AASD held 54 additional screening events as well.
The CELC collaboration also succeeded in its goal of promoting screening of children at younger ages, with the number of children under the age of 3 screened increasing by 20.4%. All 472 children screened at Early Intervention were under the age of 3 (compared to 412 the previous year). In addition, of the 88 children screened at Project Bridges this year, 24 (27.3%) were under the age of 3.
The third outcome goal focused on Pyramid training and outreach:
Increase outreach efforts to the Fox Valley early childhood educational community both through inclusion in Pyramid training events and other professional and family venues.
Train all CELC staff working with children in classroom settings in the Pyramid Model for Supporting Social Emotional Competence in Infants and Young Children.
Outreach Efforts: Staff at all CELC agencies were extremely active in their first year at the CELC. The AASD Birth-5 Outreach Program offered a total of 132 playgroups and events that were attended by more than 2,500 parents and children.
In addition, the CELC held a number of events to celebrate its inaugural year and increase its visibility in the community. For example, the CELC Grand Opening event was held on October 28, 2014, and was attended by families and community members, donors, CELC board members, and a number of local dignitaries.
A community event titled “Together We CAN Make a Difference” was held at the CELC on April 14, 2015, to celebrate the Week of the Young Child. This family fun event was attended by 355 parents and children and also included a Resource Fair with 17 community agencies participating.
Pyramid Training Process: To accomplish this training goal, leadership teams consisting of approximately 4 staff members from Head Start and Project Bridges participated in a 4-day Pyramid Model Implementation Academy sponsored by 4K in May 2015.
In addition to training for the leadership team, staff members from Head Start and Even Start participated in 8 training sessions (3 hours each) at the CELC with each module focused on a different aspect of social emotional development.
Community partners were invited to participate, and staff from Theda Care Child Development Center and Head Start in Seymour, Oshkosh, and Kaukauna attended the training.
In addition, AASD’s 4-K Institute in August, 2015, provided an additional 20 hours of Pyramid training for 4-K teachers. As planned, the Head Start and Project Bridges staff completed Pyramid training in 2014-2015, and the Even Start teachers are doing Pyramid training during the 2015-2016 school year.
The final outcome goal was to:
Create program stability for UW Oshkosh Head Start, Project Bridges Child Care and Preschool, Appleton Even Start Family Literacy, AASD Early Childhood Special Education Diagnostic Center, AASD Birth—Five Outreach Program and Appleton Community 4K School Office and the families these programs serve.
Survey staff and parents to assess satisfaction with CELC facilities and services.
Stability and Collaboration: Prior to the opening of the CELC, most CELC partners have had to relocate an average of every 2-3 years. The 10-year extendable lease and close collaborative support from St. Mary’s Parish provides significant stability to CELC agencies.
The CELC partners and the Board worked creatively to use the CELC space effectively, allocating space for each program and sharing space and services appropriately whenever possible. Throughout the first year, leaders from each CELC agency met weekly to work on the collaboration, resulting in the partners receiving the 2015-2016 Wisconsin Early Childhood Association award for collaboration on November 13, 2015.
Staff Satisfaction: About 50% of CELC staff responded to a survey asking about the CELC in regard to program stability and CELC collaboration, training opportunities, and benefits for families using the CELC. Staff viewed program stability, collaboration, and training positively, with highest scores on sufficiency of program training (4.1 on a 5-point scale) and training helpfulness (4.0). The efficiency of the collaboration had an average rating of 3.6, with staff explaining that they saw the collaboration as beneficial and that many of the collaborative challenges were being worked out in the first year. Staff viewed the benefits to families very positively (4.7), with comments emphasizing the way that the CELC has allowed families to access more resources, including screenings, and wrap around care.