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Envisioning a Different Kind of School

Kids begin learning before they’re even born. By the time children start kindergarten, their brains are already 90 percent developed. Children’s Institute believes our education system can do more for kids during this critical period of development. Neighborhood schools can serve children long before they enter kindergarten and provide meaningful support to parents and families before and during elementary school.

Our Early Works initiative demonstrates what happens when school districts, community partners, parents, and funders come together with a shared vision to support the early learning and healthy development of young children: Kids arrive at kindergarten ready to learn, parents feel welcome at the school and empowered to support their children’s learning, and the school community flourishes.

A Peek Inside Earl Boyles

Located in the David Douglas School District in Southeast Portland, Oregon, Earl Boyles Elementary School is one of two Early Works sites. The school serves a culturally and linguistically diverse group of low-income families. Through our comprehensive, community-based Early Works initiative, Earl Boyles now offers high-quality preschool, an Early Kindergarten Transition program, summer literacy programs, infant-toddler play and learn groups, a food pantry, and connections to housing and health care supports.

Since 2010, children at Earl Boyles have improved their kindergarten readiness and parents have become leaders in the community and empowered participants in their children’s learning. Going forward, Early Works aims to increase participation in 0–3 play groups and support children’s learning at home, ensuring all children in the area are ready for preschool and beyond.

A Peek Inside Earl Boyles

Located in the David Douglas School District in Southeast Portland, Oregon, Earl Boyles Elementary School is one of two Early Works sites. The school serves a culturally and linguistically diverse group of low-income families. Through our comprehensive, community-based Early Works initiative, Earl Boyles now offers high-quality preschool, an Early Kindergarten Transition program, summer literacy programs, infant-toddler play and learn groups, a food pantry, and connections to housing and health care supports.

Since 2010, children at Earl Boyles have improved their kindergarten readiness and parents have become leaders in the community and empowered participants in their children’s learning. Going forward, Early Works aims to increase participation in 0–3 play groups and support children’s learning at home, ensuring all children in the area are ready for preschool and beyond.

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CI and PSU’s Center for Improvement of Child and Family Services conduct a Community Needs Assessment.
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The community approves $3.5 million bond measure to fund the construction of a new early learning wing at Earl Boyles.

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CI raises $3.5 million in a capital campaign to raise the additional funds to support the construction for the Earl Boyles Early Learning Wing.

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Construction on the Earl Boyles Early Learning Wing begins.
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The Richard C. Alexander Early Learning Wing opens; Earln Boyles offers six half-day preschool sessions, serving 102 students.
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CI supports school-wide professional development on the Parent-Teacher Home Visit project (PTHV) model.
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Multnomah County provides initial funding to launch and staff key components of the Neighborhood Center to meet the needs of the district-community.
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Home Forward partners with Earl Boyles and IRCO to offer short-term rent assistance to support housing stability for Earl Boyles families.
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CI and Health Share fund Community Health Worker training for Community Ambassadors.
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CI and PSU’s Center for Improvement of Child and Family Services conduct a Community Needs Assessment.
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The community approves $3.5 million bond measure to fund the construction of a new early learning wing at Earl Boyles.

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CI raises $3.5 million in a capital campaign to raise the additional funds to support the construction for the Earl Boyles Early Learning Wing.

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Construction on the Earl Boyles Early Learning Wing begins.
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The Richard C. Alexander Early Learning Wing opens; Earln Boyles offers six half-day preschool sessions, serving 102 students.
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CI supports school-wide professional development on the Parent-Teacher Home Visit project (PTHV) model.
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Multnomah County provides initial funding to launch and staff key components of the Neighborhood Center to meet the needs of the district-community.
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Home Forward partners with Earl Boyles and IRCO to offer short-term rent assistance to support housing stability for Earl Boyles families.
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CI and Health Share fund Community Health Worker training for Community Ambassadors.

An Initiative Based On Partnerships

The Early Works initiative brings together parents, schools, and communities to meet the needs of children from birth to age 8. Many partners, including the David Douglas School District, Mt. Hood Community College Head Start, and Multnomah Early Childhood Program, have come together to provide high-quality early learning programs and supports starting at birth, parenting education to engage families, and health supports and other social services for families. Children’s Institute provides the vision and leadership for the initiative and Portland State University conducts ongoing assessments.
1. Children’s Book Bank
2. Home Forward
3. Immigrant & Refugee Community Organization (IRCO)
4. Latino Network
5. Metropolitan Family Services (MFS)
6. Mt. Hood Community College Head Start
7. Multnomah County Library
8. Multnomah Early Childhood Program (MECP)
9. Oregon Food Bank
10. Padres Unidos (Parents United)
11. Reading Results
12. Rose Community Development
13. SMART (Start Making a Reader Today)
14. Zenger Farms
Initiative-In-PartnershipApr21
Initiative-In-PartnershipApr21
1. Children’s Book Bank
2. Home Forward
3. Immigrant & Refugee Community Organization (IRCO)
4. Latino Network
5. Metropolitan Family Services (MFS)
6. Mt. Hood Community College Head Start
7. Multnomah County Library
8. Multnomah Early Childhood Program (MECP)
9. Oregon Food Bank
10. Padres Unidos (Parents United)
11. Reading Results
12. Rose Community Development
13. SMART (Start Making a Reader Today)
14. Zenger Farms

Vídeo disponible en español  → AQUÍ

Having rich early learning programs and services in my school means kids are better prepared for kindergarten. This is possible thanks to deeply connected partners, including parents, all working together toward the same goals.

Ericka Guynes

Principal, Earl Boyles Elementary School

Vídeo disponible en español  → AQUÍ

Strategies that Drive Change

Informed by research and guided by local data and community input, Early Works demonstrates a new approach to supporting families and young children. This includes offering early learning experiences that are aligned with elementary school so that kids transition seamlessly from preschool into kindergarten and beyond. The initiative provides early learning and health supports while engaging families and sharing leadership amongst a variety of stakeholders.

Early Works is about bringing people together to create solutions for children and their families. We’ve seen that providing a variety of programs and services to kids and families starting at birth can make a difference. We’re using what we’ve learned from Early Works to change the way early learning is delivered across the state.

Swati Adarkar

President & CEO, Children’s Institute

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  • Neighborhood Center
  • Preschool Operations Committee
  • Family Engagement Team
  • Summer Learning Team
  • Service Coordination Committee

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  • Ongoing program evaluation that looks at child and family outcomes and system-level changes
  • Community needs and health assessments

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  • Connections to health and dental care
  • Developmental screenings and referrals
  • Connections to housing support

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  • Programs that develop parent leaders
  • Parent-teacher home visits
  • Culturally relevant and inclusive services
  • Family partnerships to reduce chronic absence

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  • Infant and toddler play groups
  • School-based preschool
  • Early Kindergarten Transition program
  • Summer literacy program
  • Professional development

tooltip text
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  • Neighborhood Center
  • Preschool Operations Committee
  • Family Engagement Team
  • Summer Learning Team
  • Service Coordination Committee

L

  • Ongoing program evaluation that looks at child and family outcomes and system-level changes
  • Community needs and health assessments

L

  • Connections to health and dental care
  • Developmental screenings and referrals
  • Connections to housing support

L

  • Programs that develop parent leaders
  • Parent-teacher home visits
  • Culturally relevant and inclusive services
  • Family partnerships to reduce chronic absence

L

  • Infant and toddler play groups
  • School-based preschool
  • Early Kindergarten Transition program
  • Summer literacy program
  • Professional development

tooltip text
L

  • Neighborhood Center
  • Preschool Operations Committee
  • Family Engagement Team
  • Summer Learning Team
  • Service Coordination Committee

L

  • Ongoing program evaluation that looks at child and family outcomes and system-level changes
  • Community needs and health assessments

L

  • Connections to health and dental care
  • Developmental screenings and referrals
  • Connections to housing support

L

  • Programs that develop parent leaders
  • Parent-teacher home visits
  • Culturally relevant and inclusive services
  • Family partnerships to reduce chronic absence

L

  • Infant and toddler play groups
  • School-based preschool
  • Early Kindergarten Transition program
  • Summer literacy program
  • Professional development

Early Works is about bringing people together to create solutions for children and their families. We’ve seen that providing a variety of programs and services to kids and families starting at birth can make a difference. We’re using what we’ve learned from Early Works to change the way early learning is delivered across the state.

Swati Adarkar

President & CEO, Children’s Institute

Community Health Workers In Action

Still it’s unclear what the future of Earl Boyles Elementary community health work will look like. What is certain is that the position and group of ambassadors have become a critical part of the school, and that the staff have come to depend on it. Earl Boyles Principal Ericka Guynes is hopeful the community ambassador program in particular will become stronger and grow to include even more representatives from other backgrounds in the community.

While community health work is a growing profession, most such workers are not working in an educational setting full-time, nor is there a well-established pathway to placing a CHW in a school, in Oregon or nationally. The process of establishing a full-time CHW and volunteer team of community ambassadors at Earl Boyles Elementary has spanned a number of years and demanded innovation. And while the program has been a success, its future is still precarious.

The purpose of this report is to demonstrate the significant power of such a program, as well as the challenges, learnings, and emerging best practices around it.

A Closer Look at Earl Boyles

%

of entering kindergarteners had preschool experience.

%

of students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch.

%

of students meet third grade math benchmarks.

%

of students meet third grade English benchmarks.

%

are English language learners.

%

of students attend on a regular basis.

The Impact of Early Works: 2011–19 Evaluation Highlights

+ Families at Early Boyles appear to be increasingly stable and less mobile since the start of Early Works. Students in more recent cohorts were significantly more likely to remain at Early Boyles for first through third grade.

96% of the 2017 cohort and 98%
of the 2016 cohort returned for first
grade while only about 84% of
students returned for first grade in
years prior.

+ Children identified earlier for EI/ECSE services and who received two years of EB preschool were less likely to need special education services by first grade.

Only 66% of former EB Preschoolers
who received SPED in kindergarten
remained in SPED in first grade, while
82% of the kindergarteners who did
not attend EB preschool remained in
SPED in first grade.

+ Stronger early literacy skills at kindergarten entry predicted higher third grade literacy, math, and writing scores, underscoring the effectiveness of preschool.

+ Early literacy skills for children in kindergarten, who attended the Earl Boyles preschool, have improved significantly over time (133% increase over baseline) and exceed those in the district and state.

+ Significant early literacy skill gaps between Asian, Latino, and white kindergarteners at the start of kindergarten are no longer present.

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