Educational Institutions

Early Learning Coalition of Osceola County Inc

  • Kissimmee, FL
  • http://www.elcosceola.org

Mission Statement

The mission of the Early Learning Coalition of Osceola County is to facilitate access to high quality early education and child care through an integrated system of services including linkages to health care and parenting supports.

Main Programs

  1. School Readiness Program
  2. Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK)
  3. Child Care Resource and Referral
Service Areas

Self-reported

Florida

Osceola County

ruling year

2001

Principal Officer since 2001

Self-reported

Susan Sunka

Keywords

Self-reported

Early Learning, Prekindergarten, School Readiness, Voluntary Prekindergarten, VPK,

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EIN

31-1768530

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Educational Services and Schools - Other (B90)

Youth Development Programs (O50)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Overview

Self-reported by organization

ACCOMPLISHMENTS Accomplishments this last year include: 1) Through our Wee Read Early Literacy Initiative, children were pre and posted tested during the year long program in early literacy. Results showed a growth from 38% of the children initially scoring average or above to 91% of those children scoring average or above after participating in the program. This growth in building the early literacy foundation will position these children well to become strong readers and learners in school . 2) Through the generous support of Walt Disney World Resort, a pre-k STEM Pilot Project was launched last year. In partnership with the Orlando Science Center, this year long initiative included 8 providers and 13 classrooms with a total of 260 children participating in the pilot project. This initiative focused on building the foundation for 21st century skills needed in tomorrow's talent pipeline, including but not limited to, collaboration, problem solving, communication, creativity and content knowledge. Due to the huge success of this pilot project, the Coalition has entered into a partnership between the School District of Osceola County and the Orlando Science Center to launch a community wide initiative called ""Infants to Innovators"", designed to transform the Osceola County educational system into a STEM based learning community. 3) Our Annual Early Educator's Conference "Ready, Set, Grow!" was a huge success! With over 350 participants from 4 counties in attendance, a wide variety of early education topics were presented to help strengthen teaching skills in early learning classrooms. GOALS Our Coalition has targeted the following goals for this fiscal year: 1) Launch ""Infants to Innovators"" Initiative, an ongoing community partnership between the Coalition, the School District of Osceola County and the Orlando Science Center. This unique public-private partnership is designed to transform Osceola's educational system into a STEM based learning environment. Starting with early learning, this initiative will focus on early learning classrooms into a STEM-based early learning community throughout Osceola County. This unique initiative includes 1) A coordinated effort by the School District of Osceola County to convert all elementary, middle and high schools into STEM-based schools over the next several years, 2) a coordinated effort by the Coalition to onboard private provider pre-k classrooms to be STEM based learning centers, and 3) Community wide Pre-k STEM curriculum and staff training that is used by both public and private pre-k programs to ensure consistency in pre-k STEM related skill development. This tiered approach will include 1st year participating private providers receiving technical assistance, classroom role modeling, and one-on-one and small group training from the Orlando Science Center to integrate STEM teaching concepts into pre-k classrooms. 2nd year participating private providers along with public pre-k STEM classrooms will work in tandem, using the same pre-k STEM curriculum and staff trainings to further enhance 21st century skill building. This initiative, as it is rolled out in phases over the next several years will transform the educational system in Osceola County and better prepare Osceola's future talent pipeline. 2) Establish Born Learning Trails throughout Osceola County. These trails include an interactive sequence of early learning activities performed on nature trails. This initiative is in partnership with the Osceola County Parks and Recreation Department and Nemours BrightStart. 3) Expand fundraising efforts to address Osceola County's waitlist.

Programs

Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

School Readiness Program

The School Readiness program offers eligible parents financial/tuition assistance for educational and care services, with a special focus on children ages birth-to-five, to assist low income families in becoming self-sufficient. The School readiness Program takes into account the level of physical, social, emotional, and intellectual development of a child, involves parents as their child's first teacher, prepares children to become ready for school, and provides parents with information on child development and other topics of interest. All families that apply for School Readiness program services recieve information on how to choose a quality education and care provider plus a list of providers that match each families' needs.

Category

Education, General/Other

Population(s) Served

Other Named Groups

Homeless

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

Budget

$6,157,868.00

Program 2

Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK)

Under the direct guidance of the Office of Early learning, the Early Learning Coalition of Osceola County oversees the implementation of the Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) Program, offering parents with eligible four-year-old children the opportunity to receive free prekindergarten services. The educational strategy of the VPK program continues to focus on eight domains of learning in the classroom: physical health, approaches to learning, social & emotional development, language & communication, cognitive development, science & math, emergent literacy, and motor development. The VPK program's educational strategy also involves parents as thier child's first teacher, prepares children to become ready for school, and provides parents with information on child development and other topics of interest.

Category

Education, General/Other

Population(s) Served

Infants/Babies (under age 5)

Budget

$7,718,965.00

Program 3

Child Care Resource and Referral

Child Care Resource & Referral staff assist parents with initial applications and general information requests. The staff also provides entry into the Unified Wait List System, wait list maintance, pre-screening for eligibility for childcare subsidies, and updates for those currently waiting for services. All families are offered information on local community services.

Category

Public, Society Benefit, General/Other

Population(s) Served

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

General Public/Unspecified

Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)

Budget

Charting Impact

Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    Our Coalition's vision or ultimate goal is to ensure that all children enter kindergarten prepared to succeed in school and in life. With our School Readiness Program, eligible families with young children, ages birth to five, will receive child care financial assistance to make child care be more affordable and to help these families maintain their self-sufficiency. Because their children are faced with more risk factors for school failure, the School Readiness program offers early intervention services and family supports along with early education for their children. The Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) Program is a FREE pre-k program to all four-year-olds who turned four on or before September 1st. Both programs are offered through a variety of settings, including private early learning providers, faith based providers, family child care homes and school based settings. All providers must meet provider eligibility requirements and have a contract for services with the Coalition prior to children being enrolled in their programs to ensure legislative compliance with program requirements. The Coalition monitors all providers to ensure they meet these program requirements. The Coalition also offers a wide variety of quality supports to enhance classroom instruction and maximize learning gains with children enrolled in the programs. These include, but not limited to, a very comprehensive professional development training calendar to increase early educator teaching skills, classroom manipulatives for participating providers in selected quality initiatives, one-on-one and small group training to selected early educators, conference scholarships to increase early learning professionalism, and more.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    To meet this goal, our Coalition has implemented several strategies that are designed to maximize results and increase child learning gains including, but not limited to: 1) Design and implement key early learning quality initiatives that will maximize learning gains of children, ages birth to five. These include, but are not limited to: A. Wee Read Early Literacy and Math Initiative- a year-long program that offers 30-hours of professional staff training to participating early educators to increase child learning gains in early literacy and math; participating families also attend Family Nights to increase family engagement B. Infants to Innovators - a pre-k STEM collaborative with the School District of Osceola County and Orlando Science Center to incorporate STEM teaching concepts into pre-k classrooms to maximize the development of 21st century skills, such as collaboration/team building, critical thinking, creativity, problem solving and more. 2) Design and implement professional staff development initiatives that will maximize teacher instruction and teacher-child interaction in early learning classrooms. These include, but are not limited to: A. Professional Early Learning Training Tracks - these tracks are designed to address all areas of a particular subject. Tracks include a Director's Training Track; Pre-K Teacher Training Track, Infant/Toddler Teacher Training Track; New Teacher Training Track and more. A. Early Educator's Conference - this conference is offered annually; approximately 350 participants each year attend several early learning sessions, visit vendors in the tradeshow area and have wonderful networking opportunities 1) Develop community collaborations where possible, to implement early learning strategies to maximize resources and stretch dollars. These include: A. Infants to Innovators - a public-private collaboration with the School District of Osceola County, the Orlando Science Center, private providers and the Coalition to rollout a multi year/multi-phase initiative to incorporate STEM teaching concepts into early learning provider settings across Osceola County. B. Texting Project - a collaboration between the Heart of Florida United Way, Valencia College and the Coalition - this initiative is designed to develop and disseminate text messages to parents/families with children ages birth to five. C. Footsteps 2 Brilliance - a collaboration between the School District of Osceola County, private providers and the Coalition to introduce Footsteps 2 Brilliance into Osceola County. D. Born Learning Trails - a collaboration between Osceola County Parks and Recreation Department, the Heart of Florida United Way, Nemours BrightStart! and the Coalition; this initiative will incorporate Born Learning Trails onto existing trails in Osceola County. E. Grow Project- a collaboration between the Osceola County Library System, private providers and the Coalition; this initiative is an Early Literacy outreach project which will encourage reading as a fun activity among preschoolers in preschool by making available books for teachers and child to use. F. Ready, Set, Grow Early Educator's Conference - a collaboration between the School District of Osceola County, private providers, Orlando Tech, and the Coalition. 2) Engage families to help them understand their role in being their child's first teacher. Family engagement initiatives are described above, and 3) Implement an ongoing board recruitment initiative to recruit community leaders to be early learning advocates and help further the mission and vision of the Coalition
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    Our Coalition's capabilities, including the resources, capacities and connections to implement these strategies include: A. Funding - the Coalition utilizes its budget received by the state, a Helping Kids Shine grant through Walt Disney World Resort, sponsorships from various businesses, funding from Osceola County and othersB. Trainers - the Coalition has a multi-prong approach to ensure quality trainers implement high quality training including utilizing Coalition qualified staff, hiring contracted trainers in specific areas of expertise, and working with community partners to access their training staff through effective collaborationsC. Community Collaborations - community collaborations, as described above, are greatly utilized to leverage additional resources and supports to further the early learning missionD. Board Members - Board members assist in the recruitment of additional board members, securing sponsorships from businesses and engaging community leaders in the early learning mission through their advocacy and outreach efforts
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    The Coalition will measure its success in a variety of ways, including: 1) Child gains - will be measured with several child assessment tools including the VPK Assessment Tool, Teaching Strategies Gold child assessment tool and STEM child observation tool; Child gains will also be reported in the VPK Readiness Rate 2) Early Educator Teaching Gains - will be measured by pre-post assessments to determine increases in overall knowledge throughout the year; these assessments will be strategically performed just prior to a training series and/or training initiative and at the completion of the training initiative to determine overall effectiveness 3) Parent Gains - will be measured with pre-post assessments in targeted initiatives with parent components to measure increase in knowledge and attitude; the number of parents who sign up for the texting project, once launched, and the number of those who opt out will also be used to measure effectiveness 4) Community Collaborations - will be measured on several levels including but not limited to: A. Pre-post assessments of teachers and/or parents to determine effectiveness, as applicable B. Overall logistical implementation of the collaborative and its effectiveness C. Overall satisfaction reported by the directors and early educators regarding its impact on early learning programs All data collected will be reviewed at the completion of each initiative as well as be compiled and analyzed at the end of the year. Results will be used to plan the following year's early learning quality initiatives with tweaks to existing initiatives being made and/or new initiatives being formed to address the identified gaps in service.
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    While great inroads have been made to increase the effectiveness of early learning programs in Osceola County, there is much more work to be done. Year-long quality initiatives, such as the Wee Read and STEM initiatives have proven to be very effective in increasing child gains and early educator teaching skills, however, implementing these initiatives are costly and cannot be implemented with all providers throughout Osceola County. Industry challenges also pose barriers in being successful, such as high turnover of early educator staff, low wages, lack of educational requirements needed to work in the industry and more. In Osceola County, language barriers also pose additional challenges. The Coalition recognizes that if we are going to help lay the educational foundation needed for our future workforce to be successful, it is critical that we start now in building those 21st century skills, such as critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, evaluation of processes and more. This year, our Coalition will be launching a completely revamped training calendar to address early educator teaching skills in a more streamlined and effective way. We have expanded our STEM initiative, through the generous support of Walt Disney World Resort and their Helping Kids Shine Grant, and have revamped our Wee Read Initiative, renaming it Foundations in Early Learning Development (FIELD) to incorporate the development of more of these critical skills. We have also increased our collaborative efforts with the School District of Osceola County to build a more solid and consistent educational continuum in Osceola County, starting from early learning and continuing on through high school.
Service Areas

Self-reported

Florida

Osceola County

Funding Needs

The 5 most pressing needs of our Coalition include:1) Additional dollars to serve children currently on the wait list - While all dollars are appreciated, approximately $300K is needed to serve all children currently on the waitlist for 1 year2) Additional resources to enhance program quality - resources needed include a wide variety of consumables for classrooms (contact Coalition for detailed list), donations of computers for classrooms (30 needed), tablets for teachers to use with on-line child assessment requirements (150 needed), sponsorship of speaker fees for professional development of provider staff ($3K), and financial support to purchase classroom manipulatives ( $50K)3) Additional board members with fundraising experience (2 or more)4) Funds to hire a marketing/outreach staff person ( $50K)5) Donated or discounted office space (see Coalition for details)

Accreditations

External Reviews

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Financials

Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

EARLY LEARNING COALITION OF OSCEOIA COUNTY, INC.
Fiscal year: Jul 01-Jun 30
Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant.

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Early Learning Coalition of Osceola County Inc

Leadership

NEED MORE INFO ON THIS NONPROFIT?

Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2015, 2014 and 2014
  • Board Chair, Board Co-Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
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Principal Officer

Susan Sunka

BIO

After graduating from Florida State University, Susan spent the first part of her professional career in the for-profit arena working for companies including Columbia Broadcasting Systems and the Gillette Company. Her experience led to a proven track record in the ability to effectively analyze organizational needs and develop and implement strategies to solve problems and maximize success.Susan shifted her career focus and expertise to work in the non-profit field where she worked for the Parent Resource Center. She has also provided training to Heart of Florida United Way, Walt Disney World, and Lockheed Martin.As the Project Manager for the Orange County School Readiness Coalition during the start up of the school readiness initiative, Susan began working with the Early Learning Coalition of Osceola County in 2001 where she has since dedicated herself fulltime to ensuring that the children of Osceola County enter school prepared to succeed.

STATEMENT FROM THE Principal Officer

"The Early Learning Coalition of Osceola County, Inc., in collaboration with early learning providers, strives to build a strong foundation for children that will help shape their future and their lives. Focusing on proven research-based developmental ""windows of opportunity"", the Coalition helps children build critical skills in early literacy; language and communication; social and emotional development; cognitive thinking; fine and gross motor development; physical health; science and math; and approaches to learning. With preparing children to enter kindergarten ""school ready"" as the primary goal, the Coalition hopes to instill a love for learning that will not only help them be successful in school, but in life."

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

James Waters

Universal Studios (retired)

Term: May 2015 - Apr 2017

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices. Self-reported by organization


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?