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Mayor Hodges, Cradle to K Cabinet Announce Cabinet Will Issue Report with 2015 Recommendations

Mayor Hodges, Cradle to K Cabinet Announce Cabinet Will Issue Report with 2015 Recommendations 150 150 Ivy Marsnik

October 10, 2014 (MINNEAPOLIS) — Mayor Betsy Hodges announced Thursday that her Cradle to K Cabinet is working on a year-end report which will outline policy, legislative, and collaboration recommendations for 2015. The Cabinet has been meeting since spring, when Mayor Hodges convened the full first meeting of the cabinet.

“The members of my Cradle to K Cabinet have shown exceptional dedication to our goal of closing the achievement gap in the city’s education system by eliminating disparities for children from prenatal to three years old,” said Mayor Hodges. “The discussions, collaboration, and work happening at this table is focused on our opportunity to create equity with our kids – I’m heartened by the energy of the Cabinet. I feel confident our year-end report will be comprehensive and forward-thinking. I look forward to that report guiding the Cradle to K Cabinet’s work in 2015.”

Since the first meeting, the cabinet has identified three objectives members are focused on. The cabinet has organized members into committees, each one focused on a different objective.

“I’m pleased we’ve been able to focus in on three concrete goals,” said Carolyn Smallwood, Co-Chair of the Cradle to K Cabinet and Executive Director of Way to Grow. “Those goals are that all children receive a healthy start rich with early experience to prepare them for successful early education and literacy; all children will be stably housed; and all children will have continuous access to high quality child development programming.”

“Each committee is looking at potential policy or legislative recommendations for each of these objectives,” said Peggy Flanagan, Co-Chair of the Cradle to K Cabinet and Executive Director of the Children’s Defense Fund-Minnesota. “Some of those recommendations may be small changes at the city level, and some may require larger state legislation to achieve our goal. In January, we’ll begin working on those recommendations.”

The Cradle to K Cabinet will make its report public in early January. Flanagan and Smallwood joined Mayor Hodges Thursday at a media briefing to discuss the cabinet’s work. They were joined by: Gretchen Musicant, Chair of the Committee focused on Early Experiences; Mikkel Beckmen, Chair of the Committee focused on Stable Housing; Aaron Sojourner, member of the Committee focused on Continuous Access; and Richelle Hart-Peeler, a parent representative on the cabinet.

Way to Grow Celebrates Historic Milestone

Way to Grow Celebrates Historic Milestone 150 150 Ivy Marsnik

Breaking ground on the new PALS classroom

Breaking ground on the new PALS classroom Way to Grow

We broke ground on our new P.A.L.S. classroom at Urban Ventures in the Colin Powell Youth Leadership Center with sponsors, families, friends, staff and – of course – cake on Wednesday, April 9. The Redleaf Family Foundation is funding this new partnership, so Rhoda cut the ribbon with a shiny pair of yellow children’s scissors before everyone toured the beautiful classroom.

Here’s lead classroom teacher Meredith Skalko reporting on how the program is going so far:

“(The south side) P.A.L.S. is off and running! We have started Family Fridays programming while we patiently await our license application to be approved by the City of Minneapolis. We have had a really great response so far – 16 participants at our first Friday class, 23 at our second, and 26 at our third. It is really exciting to see the parent-child piece of the program underway. Parents and children are playing together, talking together, and learning together, which is really what Way to Grow is all about. I am looking forward to discovering the best ways to tie the preschool and parent-child components of the program together and to see how involving parents in their children’s learning first-hand can help foster school readiness and success.”

Assistant teacher Craig Allen thought the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony was enjoyable, but added that “the real magic happened two days later” at the third parent/child class. He is impressed and pleased that the kids have already grasped sharing, self-control, quiet voices and playing nicely with their new friends – all important skills for school success.

The next exciting endeavor for the preschoolers and their families – 59 of them, in fact – is a field trip to the Minnesota Children’s Theatre on April 25 to see “Balloonacy.” We can’t wait to hear how that goes. For now, click here for a full Facebook gallery of photos from the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony.

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