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DPS, City and Nonprofits Support Early Language and Literacy for Denver Children
Denver – On Thursday, Nov. 2, the Birth to Eight partnership released a new implementation guide for how it will support families in developing early language and literacy for Denver’s youngest children – from birth to age eight. The partnership brings together Denver Public Schools (DPS), the Office of Children’s Affairs with the City and County of Denver, and multiple nonprofits and community organizations who work with families of young children.
The newly released guide, “Phase II: Implementation Planning,” details how the partnership will work together to achieve the ambitious goals outlined in the “Birth to Eight Roadmap” document. The plan includes supporting families with tools and opportunities like early screenings, speech-language therapy, home visits and playgroups to support their children’s early language and literacy development – key factors in reading readiness. Research shows that students who are reading at grade level by third grade are four times more likely to graduate from high school.
“Our work in the City of Denver is dedicated to supporting our city’s youngest learners – and we know it will take the entire community working together to support their future success,” said Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock. “We are all committed to helping our kids succeed and make Denver the most literate city in the nation.”
The Birth to Eight Roadmap has five guiding principles that contribute to a child’s early development: engaged and supported families, effective professionals, citywide culture of language and literacy, shared leadership and continuous improvement. These tools are essential to the successful early language and literacy development all children need to be ready to succeed when they enter school.
The Birth to Eight Partnership includes community partners, public agencies, parents and caregivers who are also committed to working toward the goal of supporting and empowering families living in neighborhoods of concentrated poverty so that young children in these neighborhoods reach their developmental potential and succeed in school and in life.
“We know learning starts at birth, and a child’s early experiences – before they enter kindergarten – are extremely important to their future success in school and in life,” said Superintendent Tom Boasberg. “That’s why it is vital that our schools, city and community organizations work together to provide educational opportunities for kids and supports for parents to help them guide their children’s language and literacy development early on.”
Birth to Eight is a community partnership designed to help families, caregivers and educators support a child’s development from the start to ensure they enter school ready to learn. Our city has many established organizations that benefit early learners, and the Birth to Eight partnership brings them together, providing tools and resources to ensure kids are reading on grade level by the end of third grade. Started in late 2015, the Birth to Eight partnership is grounded in the collective educational vision of Denver Public Schools’ Denver Plan 2020, Mayor Michael B. Hancock’s Five Goals for Youth and the Early Childhood Colorado Framework. The partnership’s co-chairs are Happy Haynes and Barbara O’Brien, DPS Board of Education; Erin Brown, Mayor’s Office of Children’s Affairs; and Don Mares, Denver Human Services.