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Sunnyside Parents as Teachers


Sunnyside Parents As Teachers (Sunnyside PAT) is an evidence-based early childhood family education and support program serving families throughout pregnancy until their child enters kindergarten, with demonstrated positive outcomes for children, families and communities. The teachers are the parents, supported by professional educators who suggest ways they can effectively teach and nurture their young children. This cost-effective program is based on two simple truths: babies are born learning and that parents are their child’s first and most influential teachers. Certified parent educators with a strong background in early childhood development use a research-based curriculum to provide age appropriate information to parents and help them lay a strong foundation for school and life success.


We felt that our data piece was fairly strong, but could be a lot stronger. We needed a way to document the success of the program for funders, administrators and other nonprofits or anybody who might want to invest in the program in some way or another,” Executive Director Joan Katz recalled. To make this possible,  Sunnyside PAT needed to hire someone to collect data in a timely fashion and demonstrate the positive outcomes for children and families.

But the position of Data Specialist seemed a long way off with no money to back it.

Sunnyside PAT also wanted to expand and take a step further towards building their capacity to serve families and sustainability of the program.


$75,000 between 2009 and 2012 + Partner time and expertise

As a result of SVP funding, Sunnyside PAT hired a data specialist which overhauled the practices. The benefits of the revamped data collection system didn’t stop with Sunnyside PAT. As part of a collaborative state grant called First Things First, Amphi, Casa de Los Ninos, and Easter Seals Blake Foundation also adopted the system.

“The data spoke to the success we have had with the families we work with. This long term data will prove family support programs work.” Sunnyside PAT recently won the Expect More Arizona Award as one out of three applicants from Tucson. This award is given to programs that are seen as change makers in the future of education.

Sunnyside PAT also used the funding for professional development for SPAT educators.