Community leaders in Alexandria have long recognized that broad, collective action is needed to ensure all Alexandria children have an equal opportunity to learn and thrive. Toward this goal, in 2013, ACT began convening the Early Care & Education Work Group (ECEW), a cross-sector collaboration of leaders from Alexandria City Public Schools, City of Alexandria’s Department of Community & Human Services, Alexandria Health Department, early care and education providers, healthcare providers, local foundations and nonprofit organizations.
The Alexandria Early Care & Education Work Group was recently awarded a $250,000 grant from the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation, with ACT serving as the fiscal agent for the grant. This is one of six grants to local communities offering innovative approaches to expand access to high-quality preschool for at-risk children through partnerships with community-based early childhood programs.
What does this mean for Alexandria’s children? The ECEW has been tasked with creating an “early care and education system that prepares children to success in life and school” as outlined in the City’s Children & Youth Master Plan. Thanks to the grant, we will be adding two new mixed-delivery classrooms, each with 18 students, in two currently underserved, high-need neighborhoods. Click here to learn more about the grant.
The Early Care and Education Workgroup 2018 Annual Report provides an update on the initiative’s progress. ACT has served as the convener and backbone organization for the ECEW, hosting monthly meetings and helping to drive the work forward for the past five years. In June 2018, ACT transitioned from being the backbone organization and concluded our five-year financial commitment ($125,000) to support the ECE work. We are very excited about the transition and will continue to stay involved as the fiscal agent and work group member. The $250K VECF award is a testimony to the incredible work and collaboration among all members of the work group. To learn more about the work, visit: https://www.actforalexandria.org/early-care-education
-By Brandi Yee