Letter from the Chair - October 31, 2012

Happy Fall! The third year of our grant is shaping up to be very busy - and October has been no exception.  I would like to thank everyone who attended our Council meeting on September 28 and the Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) stakeholder meeting on October 18.  All of the stakeholder input is already impacting the Council's decision-making - from the feedback collected by our new Infant and Toddler Early Learning Guidelines to public feedback provided on our public outreach campaign by members of the public at our Council meeting.

An exciting event for the Council took place on Monday, October 29 in Austin with policymakers, advocates, and other stakeholders.  Together with the Ray Marshall Center at the University of Texas at Austin and the Hobby Center for the Study of Texas at Rice University, we released the final report from the statewide early childhood needs assessment.  The Texas Early Childhood Education Needs Assessment: Final Report is available now on our website.  More in-depth reports on the Texas demographic profile, population projection to 2040, and a gap analysis of early care and education programs in Texas, will be available on our website soon.  All the data is organized by metropolitan statistical area (MSA), county, and council of governments (COG) region.  After the data is posted, learn more about the ECE services and the early childhood population in your area.  The data really highlights the changing and growing population in Texas.

One of the Council's major projects is a statewide public outreach campaign on school readiness.  We've only just begun work on this project - beginning with a meeting of the Parental Outreach and Communications Subcommittee this month.  The Subcommittee outlined the campaign and the Council is currently reviewing our plan.  We hope to move forward with a request for proposals in the next few weeks.  The outreach campaign will include printed resources, TV and radio public service announcements, billboards, and a comprehensive website.  We'll be focusing on the importance of optimal brain development and increasing awareness about quality early care and education programs in Texas.  Stay tuned for updates!

The Council also released recommendations to the Governor on The On-Track System (TOTS), our early childhood data exchange system.  You can review these recommendations for more information about early childhood data systems in Texas.  Thank you for your continued support of the Council and our work to improve school readiness in Texas.

Sincerely,

LaShonda Y. Brown

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