It’s time to graduate another Community Partner investment. After three years of investment in a collaborative project between SVP, Early Learning Multnomah and the six Multnomah County school districts, we have welcomed the news that the Kindergarten Teacher Home Visit (KTHV) program is on secure ground as they continue to scale the initiative in our highest need school communities.
This investment began in 2014 following the recommendation of the Ready for Kindergarten community collaborative that we were co-leading. We were asked to support several approaches to ensuring a strong transition for children and families entering kindergarten, especially those who had no prior classroom experience. As of 2016, that number was 60% of Multnomah County children entering Kindergarten. Furthermore, 39% of kindergartners were chronically absent. It’s not hard to see the connection between those two statistics.
The overarching goal of the teacher home visits is to build a relationship between the teacher, the student, and their family in order to improve academic outcomes. Creating a relationship between teachers and families creates a bond—one that allows parents to put a face to the institutions, build trust, and find information and resources.It especially increases the accessibility and engagement with parents from communities of color and/or English language learners, and helps set expectations and build understanding for both families and teachers. That, in turn, increases student attendance. It also provides teachers with the opportunities to learn about their students’ families, giving them time to prepare and adequately assess families’ needs in regards to students’ preparation for a classroom environment.
Our first investment involved a modest about of money ($6000) given to six schools that agreed to serve as demonstration sites. But what made the difference was our Partners and community member volunteer time to put together a training program for the teachers and our funding of a promotional video that was shared to attract more schools and teachers next year. In 2015, we followed that with growth funding, as well as the time and effort of our partnership, and the number of participating schools grew to 19. We made a two-year re-investment in 2016 with the goal of creating a strategic plan that charted a path towards program sustainability and long-term growth.
We’re at the end of that two-year reinvestment, and Shannon Nelson, our Lead Partner for the investment, shares what we’ve learned and accomplished together.
Q: What has KTHV accomplished with the help of SVP specifically?
A: SVP helped to create an amazing program which is breaking down barriers and helping families gain confidence to navigate the school system. We’re collaborating well with Schools Uniting Neighborhoods (SUN) programs, and funding seems secure. SVP made this growth available throughout the years.
Q: In your experience as Lead Partner, how did KTHV work across and with multiple organizations (ELM, SVP, Multnomah County, etc.)?
A: There are many players involved in making the KTHV program happen. KTHV is managed by Early Learning Multnomah, funded and fostered by SVP, spread through school districts by SUN, and trained and strengthened by the Parent Teacher Home Visits outfit in California.
Q: What have you learned in your role as Lead Partner?
A: Collaboration makes us strong. Though we sometimes have trouble understanding the limitations of a project and accurately measuring how achievable a goal can be, when we Partner with like-minded people and organizations, we can forge forwards.
Q: Have there been any drawbacks or “failures”?
A: We had larger plans for growth, ultimately hoping for a statewide program. It became clear that in the current early childhood education landscape, there weren’t partnerships statewide that could create expansion within the current KTHV program.
We adjusted our goal. Instead of striving to expand, we built something meant to last. KTHV is sustainable, and they’ve stated that they no longer need SVP funding. It’s an amazing feat, and we’re very proud.
INVESTMENT DATA (2014-2017)
- $ invested by SVP’s Partnership: $62,374
- $ value of SVP volunteer talent hours: $72,000
- $ leveraged from others by SVP: $150,856
- Return on our cash investment: 3.4:1