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State partners join forces for Colorado children and families

DENVER — Tuesday, September 11, 2012 — The Office of the Lieutenant Governor of Colorado, the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS), and the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) today entered into a Memorandum of Understanding: A Working Partnership for Colorado Children and Families (MOU) joining forces to build a shared vision for early childhood development and academic achievement.

 

This MOU cements a shared vision for supporting child development, school readiness, and early school success, between partners, including the new Office of Early Childhood (OEC) in CDHS. The agreement calls for the creation of an aligned and integrated system of support including the use of common learning guidelines, program standards, and professional development to reach common goals. The coordinated effort will focus on parent education and support as a cornerstone to child well-being.

 

“Colorado is poised to help make certain every child, especially those considered at-risk, receives the family and community support they need to thrive during the critical first years of life,” Lt. Gov. Garcia stated. “This is one more way we’re working together to help empower parents and families in Colorado.”

 

In addition to establishing common early learning and developmental-standards for children from birth through third grade, the agreement stresses the need for developmentally appropriate school readiness assessments, comprehensive professional development, and the use of relevant data to continuously support quality improvement at the local and state levels.

 

“This partnership will allow us to collaboratively shape the vision for early childhood services in the state,” said Reggie Bicha, Executive Director, CDHS. “We will continue to work with parents, schools, child care providers, early intervention services as well as programs, businesses, community organizations, and other stakeholders to provide high quality early childhood programs and effective prevention strategies to mitigate challenges faced by our families.”

 

Over the course of the next year, the agreement identifies numerous specific deliverables from the partners, including:

  • A written plan for rolling out articulated learning and developmental guidelines for birth through third grade as well as resources to help families and early educators use them appropriately and effectively.
  • A framework for early childhood assessment to guide the implementation of school readiness assessments in preschool and kindergarten.
  • Identified strategies for leveraging current agency programs for improving literacy achievement included in the Colorado Department of Education Strategic Literacy Plan and which will also support the newly passed Colorado READ Act.
  • A written framework for how the Department of Human Services and the Department of Education early childhood professional development activities will be carried out.
     

“We recognize how critical it is for every child to come to school equipped with the skills necessary to be ready to learn,” said Robert Hammond, Commissioner of Education, CDE. “We’ve made tremendous progress in strengthening our early learning systems to make sure that educators working with our youngest children have the professional skills and knowledge to support school readiness and academic achievement.”

 

For a complete copy of the Memorandum of Understanding: A Working Partnership for Colorado Children and Families, click here.

 

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