Before we turn our attention to the resolutions and goals of the New Year, we would like to take a moment to reflect on the coalition’s work during 2018.
Our staff and volunteers have spent the year highly focused on the 4 A’s: Aligning priorities, Amplifying messaging, and Accelerating strategies all with Agile innovation.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM 2018 – Early Childhood through Postsecondary
Chattanooga 2.0 is working to support cross-sector collaboration, remove barriers to resources, and narrow the opportunity gap.
This work, while impacting every moment of a person’s life from birth trough career, begins in the earliest stages of childhood development. That’s why Early Matters, our early childhood action team, is the largest and most active team with 38 organizations represented. Their work has created a meaningful impact on our community this year:
2018 saw the creation of two dedicated Chattanooga Basics staff positions, allowing for a concentrated effort to raise awareness and teach the community about the powerful impact these five simple principles can have during the first three years of a child’s life.
The hospital visitation program began this year, educating 667 families between Parkridge Medical Center and Erlanger Hospital’s downtown campus on the early childhood resources available for them such as Imagination Library, Ready4K text messaging, and The Chattanooga Basics.
Members of our Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) working group have trained businesses, schools, PTAs, and other community organizations on the effects of ACEs on children and the impact toxic stress has on the body well into adulthood. Over 3,300 individuals in Hamilton County have been trained since the summer of 2017.
Camp K, a free four-week intensive program, was launched with overwhelming success to serve 289 entering Kindergarteners across 13 schools, most within the Opportunity Zone. Participants were taught the skills necessary to enter kindergarten on grade level, such as learning the alphabet, identifying shapes and colors, writing their name, and being comfortable in a structured, classroom environment. Readiness scores increased by an average of 14 points, with 87 students improving their score by 10 or more total points and 53 students improving their score by 20 or more total points.
Early childhood, while so important, is – quite literally – just the beginning. Our work continues throughout the cradle through career continuum with a special focus this year on introducing and preparing more Hamilton County students for specific opportunities and pathways that match local industry needs.
Last year, we supported Hamilton County Schools in the creation of the Future Ready Institutes in an effort to bridge the gap between the talent needs of our community and innovative early postsecondary experiences. The Future Ready Institutes offer integrated instruction, with specific career themes in thirteen local schools. Students are able to apply for the institute of their choice, opening up many more options for students and their families. Each institute also provides opportunities for students to acquire industry recognized credentials and early post-secondary opportunities through mentorship and training.
Through our work during 2018, JP Morgan Chase granted funds to create full certifications and micro-credential programs during school and after-school in which students can obtain stackable credentials or industry certifications that have market value for living wage jobs. In addition, the after-school sessions will be available to adults seeking credentials to meet industry demand.
THE YEAR AHEAD
There are many things in the pipeline for the Chattanooga 2.0 coalition in 2019, but a few highlights include:
We plan to continue trainings in order to truly make Hamilton County a trauma-informed community. Early Matters Chattanooga is already hard at work creating and scheduling presentations on the topic of resiliency, one of the only ways to combat the effects of ACEs.
Be sure to join us later this month for our two-day workshop and screening on Adverse Childhood Experiences at WTCI.
With our recent acceptance into Harvard’s By All Means program, the Chattanooga 2.0 coalition is beginning to evaluate how we can help students when they’re not in the classroom, such as after school and during the summer. We will be looking to accelerate existing programs that are getting good results, helping curate high-quality programs that can make a positive impact for students.
Above all, we want to thank you for your continued support of the coalition. Our work is not done independently, but collectively through each of our partnering organizations and the hundreds of hours supporters spend strategizing, planning, and volunteering to make our two bold goals become a reality. Together, we are making a true impact, from cradle through career.
The Chattanooga 2.0 team wishes you peace, joy, and prosperity throughout the coming year. We look forward to another successful year working alongside you to make Chattanooga the smartest community in the South.
Dr. Jared Bigham
Executive Director, Chattanooga 2.0