May 2019

May 1, 2019

“Our challenge is to take data, stories, and relationships and marry those into policies and practices that recognize histories, strengths, racism, trauma, cultural understanding, and are accountable to BIPOCs (Black, Indigenous, People of Color).” – FAKEQUITY

Community Systems Statewide Supports (CS3)

The Community Systems Statewide Supports (CS3) team has launched the Request for Supports through the Partner Plan Act Collaboration Institute (PPACI)!  This opportunity is for early childhood collaborations interested in receiving free training and technical assistance supports on how to improve local community systems efforts. We hope you consider applying to be a part of this statewide network!

The Request for Supports will remain open until May 31, 2019 at 5 p.m., at which point the application will close. Altgeld-Riverdale Early Learning Coalition is highlighted in the next section and provides insight on what communities can expect from the targeted supports. Additionally, the CS3 team is hosting a webinar on May 13, 2019 from 3 p.m. – 4 p.m. to answer questions regarding the Request for Supports and the general PPACI framework.

The CS3 team further developed additional opportunities for anyone interested in community systems to learn and grow their knowledge and skillset:

  • Visit our newly redesigned Partner Plan Act website;
  • Attend upcoming regional trainings throughout the state on topics related to community systems;
  • Engage in an online community – Coming later this month!

Share your input! One of CS3’s core areas of work is to collaborate and coordinate with other state agencies. Illinois Head Start Association and the CS3 team want to know whether Head Start/Early Head Start programs are engaged in your local community’s collaboration. Please take this five-minute survey. If Head Start programs exist in your community, but you aren’t connected to them, IHSA and CS3 are happy to make the introduction. Complete the survey today!

Collaboration Highlight

Altgeld-Riverdale Early Learning Coalition

Since its inception in 2012, the Altgeld-Riverdale Early Learning Coalition has been committed to the success and well-being of children and families in their community, leading many efforts to be proud of. Recently, they saw a unique opportunity to advance their work by applying to be part of the Partner Plan Act Collaboration Institute (PPACI). That is how Artishia Hunter, Ethiah Williams, and Deborah Daley became one of the 10 teams that comprise the Institute’s inaugural cohort. This is what one of the team members shared about their experience in the Institute so far:

General Reflections

Participating in the Institute is providing structure and useful tools and strategies to engage the Coalition as a whole and to propel it forward. The training has been helpful in grounding the Coalition in a framework that leads to good practice. The content is not just theoretical — it’s actionable.

Reflections about putting learning into practice:

At a Coalition meeting, the team used a facilitation method they learned in the Institute’s first training to arrive at a consensus about what community problem to address. The process allowed everyone in the Coalition to be heard and feel heard.  It was interactive and engaging, and it made Coalition members excited about offering thoughts and ideas. They now have direction and momentum that they can continue to build on. “We had a chance to try something and it worked. We had a process and a flow. It feels good to build on something and have momentum.”

Reflections on receiving coaching supports:

The team feels very supported by their coach. They feel that she provides clarity, and that she is able to synthesize the team’s thoughts in order to help them come together. More importantly, they feel that she is a good listener and facilitator, and that, instead of imposing her opinions on the group, her powerful questions help the team find its own way.

Share your story! If you would like to have your collaboration’s work highlighted, please email


New Report: Pre-K in American Cities

CityHealth and the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) released a report examining quality of and access to Pre-K in the 40 largest American cities, including Chicago. Highlights from the report provide a picture of where the country is at as a whole.CityHealth.jpg

  • Nationally less than 25 percent of 4-year-olds and a very small percentage of 3-year-olds have access to high-quality Pre-K.
  • Just over half of the largest U.S. cities (23 of 40, or 58 percent) meet quality benchmarks for Pre-K class size, which is one teacher and one teacher assistant for every 20 students.
  • Only 15 (38 percent) of the rated city programs require all teachers to be paid comparably to those in the K-12 system.
  • Less than a quarter of cities (9 of 40) ensure that children receive vision, hearing, health, and developmental screenings and referrals.

To find out more and to see how Chicago compares, check out the report here.

Tools for Collaborations: Turning Outward  

The Harwood Institute is a nonprofit that works with organizations and communities that are interested in building their capacity to address community issues. The institute has found that too many leaders and organizations are turned inward, focused— often unintentionally—on themselves and their organizations at the expense of their communities. To assist communities in “Turning Outward” in order to become a collective force for change, the Harwood Institute has developed a number of tools, a few of which collaborations may find useful in their work.Harwoodimg.png

  • Intentionality: Six questions to ask yourself to stay focused on impact.
  • The Turn Quiz: Turning Outward makes the community and the people the reference point for getting things done. Are you mostly turned inward or outward? Use the quiz to find out…
  • Aspirations’ Facilitators Guide: When we talk with others about our aspirations we improve the chances that we can find some common ground to come together and get things done. 
  • Building a Turned Outward Organizational Culture: Use this tool to identify ways to build a more Turned Outward organizational culture. 

To access more of the Harwood Institute’s tools, click here.

Upcoming Trainings and Events

Engaging Families in Early Childhood Community Collaborations


We held successful trainings on family engagement for the past four months, and we’re excited to offer one additional training on this important topic. This training will help participants identify strategies to reach priority populations, empower parents, and sustain a welcoming environment for families.

Join our next Engaging Families in Early Childhood Community Collaborations training:

Building Systems that Work for Families: Training for Community Systems Leaders

Join the Ounce of Prevention Fund Illinois Policy Team — in partnership with Illinois Action for Children’s Community System Statewide Supports team, Illinois State Board of Education, and the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood — for a full-day training for early childhood community systems leaders.

This four-part training is grounded in a framework for systems integration and alignment that focuses on reaching children and families with more complex needs. There will be a session on best practices in systems integration and alignment followed by two topical sessions on early childhood mental health and immigration.

2019 Partner Plan Act Conference: Equity from the Start


Registration for the 2019 Partner Plan Act Conference is now open! This annual conference brings early childhood system stakeholders to learn, network, and deepen their community systems knowledge and skills.