From the Chair - July 28, 2011

July was another incredibly busy month for the Texas Early Learning Council.  I am continually impressed with our Council Members and our staff and their ability to produce high level, quality work.  We conducted two very important events in July. The first was a plenary session at the Texas Early Childhood Leadership Summit, held at the Austin Convention Center.  The Session was a dynamic event where we collected a great deal of critical feedback from among 1,000 early childhood stakeholders.  You can read more about it in our closer look section.  The depth of feedback from this session, as well as the other sessions I attended, was a great learning experience.  We have such a wealth of expertise and knowledge in our state, and it is my hope that the Texas Early Learning Council can harness and leverage these assets to truly move the needle on school readiness in Texas.

The other event we conducted was a day long Summit on Early Childhood Data Systems at the AT & T Executive Conference Center at UT Austin.  A diverse array of 100 early childhood stakeholders gathered to learn more about the power and importance of early childhood data systems, and to help the Council understand the data needs of Texas' diverse populations and communities, as well as help us continue to refine our vision of The On-Track System (TOTS).  Visit in a couple of weeks to see a complete summary of the day's events and to download critical resources related to the Summit.  What the Summit taught me was that Texas early education stakeholders are hungry for progress, especially given the harsh consequences of the 82nd legislative session.  I was impressed with the willingness of the attendees to jump in and wrestle with fairly esoteric, yet important, issues related to early childhood data systems, security, and sustainability.

Soon we will be reviewing proposals to select 6 Texas communities to lead our Texas Community Campaign for School Readiness. Stay tuned for more information, and, we look forward to continuing to work with all of you as the Council's work progresses!

John W. Gasko, Ph.D.

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