• St. Charles Parish Early Childhood Community Network Blueprint 

    Analysis of Current State

    The St. Charles Parish Early Childhood Community Network is comprised of 17 program sites: nine community child care centers, two Head Start centers, and six elementary schools. These sites provide services for approximately 662 children, birth through - age 4: Infants (13); Ones (29); Twos (39); Threes (134); and Fours (449) in the parish. Remarkably, a comparison of enrollment data between the recent October 2021 child count and data collected in 2020-2021 indicate an increase in the number of children served in the parish. Despite the devastating impact of COVID 19 and Hurricane Ida, both contributing to a cycle of re-openings and closures, early education remains at the forefront as all operating partner programs continue to provide levels of quality, rated as proficient or above in performance.

    The St. Charles Parish Early Childhood Community Network was awarded the Ready Start Network (RSN) grant for start-up in 2020-2021. This award provided the opportunity for additional personnel to work hand-in-hand to sustain and extend the vision for high quality access for children in St. Charles Parish. As a result, one key RSN component/pillar was the establishment of a 15 member community-wide Advisory Council to  engage, sponsor, govern, and serve as ambassadors towards a continuing strong culture of early childhood education. Additionally, this award provided for the inclusion of 7 Type I, Type II, and Family Child Care community programs through cooperative agreements which include a shared vision for the development of collaborative efforts extended to all aforementioned entities, in professional development, coaching, instruction, assessment and “parents first” support opportunities. The goal is to encourage and support movement of these programs through modeling by example first, into Type III settings in the future. Ready Start Network cooperative agreements allow for extending these opportunities to Type I and Type II Centers and Family Child Care programs. Support efforts will be provided through the collaboration of EC Network, and commitment of community coalition of the United Way, Catholic Charities, Parish Government, ESL Consultants, Faith-based, retired teachers, and other committed partnerships. The Early Childhood Community Network’s philosophy is that “parent first” focus and language should be appreciated and fully incorporated in all aspects of early learning and development in St. Charles Parish. Therefore, intentional and well thought-out approaches are provided during initial outreach and ongoing enrollment, newsletters, center communications, child progress reporting, curriculum and home-learning resources, program operations, and parent decision-making practices (family choice, meetings, surveys, training, and volunteering).

    The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on child care programs, in particular, in St. Charles Parish has been significant with loss of revenue and displacement of services to children and families most in need. The leadership of center directors and staff to prepare their facilities for reopening and to reach out to families for on-site enrollment as well as hybrid and parent-home learning resources has been outstanding during this process.  The distribution of state allocated sanitation supplies to early childhood sites in the parish was welcomed and highly useful in ensuring the health and safety of children and personnel. Additionally, the awarding of state “Strong Start” funds provided the opportunity for the Lead Agency to award two-rounds of sub grants to Type III Centers to support and sustain best practices in health and safety, facility upgrade, personnel incentives and outreach to families. First and foremost, children continue to have opportunities to learn, grow, and develop; families are engaged in decision making; and center/school personnel are fulfilling the vision towards preparing children for school readiness.

    CLASS Performance scores ranging from 1 to 7, have remained fairly consistent with minimal change in all domains during 2020-2021. Worthy to note, the overall scores in the Pre K domains of Emotional Support and Classroom Organization continue to trend at the higher end at 6.22 and 5.98, respectively. The overall toddler score in Emotional and Behavioral Support also trend higher at 5.77. However, the reported score in the Pre K domain of Instructional Support at 4.10 is not at the desired level per the goals set by the Network Partner collaborative. In like manner, the Toddler domain of Engaged Support for Learning at 4.01 must also be strengthened and supported to achieve the desired level for quality adult-child classroom interactions that promote learning.  The Pre K domain of Instructional Support and Toddler Engaged Support for Learning play an important roles because they both encompass ways in which teachers implement lessons to promote both cognitive and language development. Most importantly, instructional values predict student academic functioning in the areas of literacy and general knowledge. Comparative data reported between 2016-2017 up to 2020-2021 show similar trends and support the need for strategies, resources and performance metrics towards accomplishment of network goals.

    The St. Charles Parish School District has demonstrated its commitment to early childhood education by using local funds to add 120 more elementary school 4 year old seats in 2020-2021.  Additionally, findings from the Lead Agency’s “needs assessment” on access in 2018-2019 indicated that the greatest need in the community was for available three year olds seats; this lead to the further blending of Head Start funds and resources to support 90 additional seats for three year olds in the program. The needs assessment also called for a more intentional focus on best practice and quality approaches for the allotment of seats for infants, ones, and twos in the community child care programs. Therefore, one of the major goals is to focus on access and quality for this population beginning with 2021-2022. With this in mind, the network applied for and received B-3 seat funding for the school year 2021-2022, which provided 98 additional seats among four child care centers. The network also applied for and received Community Supply Building and Access Expansion (CSBAE) funding; two years to design, implement, and evaluate a community-based access strategy via a phased approach.

    The St. Charles Parish Early Childhood Community Network has been fortunate enough to utilize a “Unified Application” for enrollment purposes so that parents may be involved in selecting their choices and to limit duplications in enrollment. This has been the glue to keeping the Network in a unified enrollment process. Additionally, the Network has been engaged in an outstanding Annual Enrollment Outreach Campaign of disseminating flyers, brochures, cable TV, video presentations, face-to-face contact and visits to spread the word throughout the community.  This year, “Outreach 2022-2023” will involve many virtual avenues, such as the use of individual site videos highlighting all 17 programs to be displayed on social media platforms.

    Early Childhood Network challenges continue to include data on access and quality for programs that are not Type III. Data are needed on these entities in order to provide outreach and support for consistent and intentional coaching, training, and modeling, per RSN Cooperative Agreements. 


    Access – Quality and learning for all little ones, birth to age 5


    To maximize learning for all children birth to age 5 in St. Charles Parish through a network of families, partners, and a community-wide early education infrastructure

    Goal 1 Increase quality of CLASS Performance profiles for existing Network Type III sites in the Pre K Instructional Support domain from 4.10 in school year 2020-2021 to 5.00 in school year 2022-2023; and  Toddler Engaged Support for Learning domain from 4.01 in school year 2020-2021 to 5.00 in school year 2022-2023; St. Charles Parish Fall 2021 Data Kit (LDOE)

    • Strategy: Conduct CLASS Reliable training for all new teachers (Infants, Toddlers and Pre K); Conduct MMCI Coach training for experienced teachers (Infants, Toddler, Pre K); Upgrade  quality of post observation debriefings and intentional coaching and modeling at site classroom levels; Conduct informed parent/family in-person and virtual learning and informational sessions; Provide United Way Success by Six ECAC credentialing for classroom assistants
    • Resources: Staffing, training materials, time, current funding and additional funding; ECE Community Network Collaboration members, leveraging partnerships with Head Start, United Way, School District personnel, Agenda for Children; and Community and Church Community Related Projects
    • Performance Metrics: CLASS scores, teacher qualification, TS Gold results, overall Performance Profiles

    Goal 2: Increase access, quality and equity enrollment for infants, ones, and twos from the graph on percentage of children in quality programs, which indicated nearly 0% to 50% by 2023-2024; and children unserved due to demographics:  economics, language, and community isolation from 64.4% in 2018-2019 to 80% by 2023-2024:

    • Reported in St. Charles Parish Kindergarten Enrollment and Demographics data 2018-2019: Agenda for Children.
    • Strategy: Collect quantitative and qualitative data on the population of underserved children: apply for PDG Seats to support child care centers and increase access; RSN to seek and secure additional funding (e.g., grant funding, foundation partnerships, local funding); translate informational materials to reach families with English learners. Based on findings, develop plans, next steps and approaches to respectfully promote inclusion, enrollment and services for the potential population of children: Data source Agenda for Children on Home care.
    • Resources: Staffing, current funding, additional funding, School District and State Data Sources/Personnel, and Agenda for Children on economically disadvantaged, students with disabilities, and English Learners
    • Performance Metrics: Child count data, parent surveys, access data, revised Network Unified Application

    Goal 3: Expand the St. Charles Parish Early Childhood Community Partner Network from the current 18 to 10 additional partners in year 2022-2023 by including Family Home Care, private and church school providers in collaborative training and coaching: model ECE strategies for access and quality; professional learning to provide background toward future Type III conversion.   

    • Strategy: Collect quantitative and qualitative data on Family Home Care, Type II other potential partners; based on findings, develop plans, next steps and approaches to develop working relationships and possible written agreements relative to training and coaching.
    • Strategy: Involve additional partners in zoom/face-to-face monthly sessions with Type III partners regarding program operations, curriculum, ”parent first” learning material and resources, and COVID recovery strategies: Include additional partners in Advisory Council sessions to participate in interactive discussions with experienced community partners: Topics include Business and Operational Practices, Revenue Earning, Public Relations, and “Keeping afloat with COVID impact”
    • Resources: Staffing, current funding, additional funding, School District and State Data Sources/Personnel, and Agenda for Children
    • Performance Metrics: Completed Action Plan, Training PPTs, agenda and sign-in documentation; Coach logs, written agreements as applicable.

    Goal 4: Sustain a highly functioning Ready Start Network Advisory Council to develop leadership capacity for governance of early childhood education in St. Charles Parish by 2024 -2025

    • Strategy: Implement branding, messaging and other communication approaches to conduct community outreach; Enlist community-wide coalition members to utilize their resources, personnel, time and contacts to ensure ongoing access, quality and equality for children birth to five in St. Charles Parish.
    • Strategy: Provide another round of “Toolboxes in a Bag” to entities in the community.
    • Strategy: Support community centers pre and post Covid-19 to increase facility/space, informed parental involvement; utilize social media to conduct continuous outreach to the community, utilize community resources to reduce burdens on affected programs post Covid-19 and contribute to more quality and accessible early childhood education.
    • Resources: Staffing, Get Ready Core team, materials/supplies, current funding, additional funding, Get Ready Coalition partners/ambassadors, Advisory Council, district curriculum and assessment, special education and child search, English as a second language personnel, LDOE Early Childhood Team, Child Care Resource & Referral (CCR&R)
    • Performance Metrics: Highly functioning governance structure will be known by:
      • Retention of RSN members over the course of 2 years
      • RSN meeting attendance, 95% & above: 4 out of 4 (2021-2022 and 2022-2023 )
      • Subgroup meeting attendance, 95% & above: 4 out of 4 (2021-2022 and 2022-2023
      • Resolutions decision making, 95% & above: 4 out of 4 (2021-2022 and 2022-2023)
      • Meeting facilitation, 95% & above: 4 out 4 (2021-2022 and 2022-2023)