REACH: Creating Community Commitment

Since 2006, Virginia has invested in a statewide local/regional network, Smart Beginnings, coordinated through a public-private partnership, the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation. The goal for Smart Beginnings initiatives is to create sustainable, collaborative systems in communities across Virginia that have the capacity to prepare children for school, resulting in both short-term savings for the K-12 system and long-term savings for their communities.

School readiness is achieved (or not) as a result of efforts at the community level. Millions of dollars in public funding flow to communities through diverse, categorical blocks; the task of coordinating most effective and efficient use of these resources falls to community leaders. By facilitating committed leadership, diverse investment, thoughtful planning and coordinated strategies, Smart Beginnings helps local communities create conditions for optimal child development for their families and young children. Smart Beginnings communities build the structure, capacity, and will for a sustained, long-term effort to promote the school readiness of children, thereby laying the foundation for a strong workforce, healthy economy, and prosperous community. Communities with a coordinated and collaborative focus on school readiness strategies document K-12 system cost savings in their communities from reduced need for early reading intervention and early grade repetition.

VECF’s focus on collaboration and partnerships is aimed at:

Sustainable Smart Beginnings initiatives are successful in four component areas:

Nearly 100 counties and cities in the Commonwealth benefit from Smart Beginnings’ collaborative focus and accountability, driving improved school readiness and outcomes for young children in those communities. Like any other program, there are gaps in access and availability (there are 27 counties and cities that are not currently participating in Smart Beginnings). The map below shows Smart Beginnings coverage in Virginia, as well as the phase of development in each region.

Smart Beginnings Coverage as of August, 2013

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PDF version of official printed report.

View risk, reach and results data by county and city using our interactive map tool.

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