The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) has awarded the six Minnesota Initiative Foundations a total of $180,000 to carry out a Pre-K to Grade 3 Alignment initiative. West Central Initiative (WCI) will use its $30,000 allocation to host a regional event and provide mini-grants for districts to expand their Pre-K to Grade 3 alignment efforts.
The Pre-K to Grade 3 Alignment Initiative arose from observations by The McKnight Foundation, the Minnesota Initiative Foundations, and the MDE that, although school districts have been making progress in aligning how they can better prepare young children for kindergarten and beyond, the lack of funding streams make it challenging for them to make it a priority. “With WCI’s strong relationships within the region and some additional dollars to support Pre-K to Grade 3 alignment work, we hope to provide strategies, resources and tools to help our Greater Minnesota school districts enhance their Pre-K to Grade 3 alignment work,” said WCI Early Childhood Coordinator Nancy Jost. “The goal of this initiative is to bridge the communication gap so that our pre-k work is truly a foundation that can be successfully built upon in the early elementary years.”
The Minnesota Initiative Foundations were selected to administer these funds given their years of experience helping communities bolster their early childhood efforts through their Early Childhood Initiatives (ECI). Collectively, over 90 Greater Minnesota communities have been through the ECI process, which brings together a cross-sector of early child care professionals to strengthen the communities’ early childhood resource network and work collaboratively to solve identified areas of concern.
To learn more about the Minnesota Initiative Foundations, visit www.greaterminnesota.net. For more information on WCI’s role in the Pre-K to Grade 3 Alignment Initiative, visit prek3.wcif.org or contact Nancy Jost at 800-735-2239 or firstname.lastname@example.org.