Way to Grow


In the News

Senator Smith takes on childcare shortage

KARE 11 | February 6, 2018 — Shamsa Idle, a 20-year Family Educator with Way to Grow, spoke with Sen. Tina Smith about the need for more childcare and early education options in Minnesota. Read the full article and check out the video interview from KARE 11 News.

Conversations with Al

KFAI | September 5, 2017 – As long as we continue educating families and alleviating barriers to school readiness, the education gap paradigm will continue to shift. Catch Art Rolnick and Way to Grow CEO, Carolyn Smallwood talking early ed on-air with Al McFarlane. Listen here.

What young children need to succeed

MSR NEWS | June 29, 2016 – During the first five years, 85 percent of your child’s brain is developed, making this a critical time in his or her life. Having healthy environments and positive experiences during these early years can really help your child start strong and go on to succeed in school and life. Read more.

Ways to teach your children to read

MSR NEWS | August 12, 2016 – Imagine a child who always assumed they just weren’t “smart enough” finally achieving self-confidence. This is what happened to a first-grader named Isaiah. Read more.

What young children need to succeed

MSR NEWS | June 29, 2016 – During the first five years, 85 percent of your child’s brain is developed, making this a critical time in his or her life. Having healthy environments and positive experiences during these early years can really help your child start strong and go on to succeed in school and life. Read more.

Summer programs galore!

MSR NEWS | June 1, 2016 – Summer is just around the corner and believe me, I’m just as excited as your children are! For many of us, summer is the time to get out and have fun. Don’t let it pass you by! Below are a few summer programs that may help your child get the most out of their summer. Read more.

Part Two: Choosing the right school for your child

MSR NEWS | May 5, 2016 – One key component of evaluating a school is to ask yourself the question “Am I ready to ‘SHOW UP’ at this school? Is this the school environment where l can feel comfortable to share my resources or concerns and be heard? Read more.

Part One: Choosing the right school for your child

MSR NEWS | April 6, 2016 – As parents, we want what’s best for our kids. There are many factors that play a role in deciding what school is best for them. Read more.

Minnesota Comeback is doling out more than $2.7 million in education grants

MINNPOST | April 8, 2016 – The education coalition Minnesota Comeback made its media debut on Wednesday by announcing an initial batch of grants totaling more than $2.7 million to support high quality education for Minneapolis students in district, charter and independent schools. Read more.

Carolyn Smallwood announced as partner-advisor for new Message to Parents section

MSR NEWS | April 6, 2016 – This new section, which will appear every other week, supplements the reporting we have done and will continue to do on the devastating educational achievement gap that is leaving so many of our youth ill-prepared for the challenges of the modern world. Read More.


STAR TRIBUNE | 11/9/15
Minneapolis children’s work gap is first target of mayor’s program

Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges is launching the first major project out of her Cradle to K initiative for babies and young children: getting parents to talk more to their kids. Read More.

MINNPOST | 3/27/15
Prioritize preparing children in deep poverty to be ready for kindergarten

There has been considerable talk about early learning lately. We have heard for so long the alarming fact that Minnesota’s children in poverty are not prepared for kindergarten. It is encouraging to see the growing consensus about the end goal, even as the means are subject of spirited debate. We, as providers of early care and education serving some of the poorest children in our state, are now asking that you open your minds and hearts to hear our point of view. Read More.

Press Releases

Northwestern President Joins Way to Grow Board

February 10, 2016 – Northwestern Health Sciences University President Dr. Christopher Cassirer has been appointed to the Board of Directors of Way to Grow, a nonprofit organization that supports early childhood education and is the premier early-learning program in the Twin Cities. Read More.

Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi Foundation for Children Awards More Than $1.3 Million in Grants

December 7, 2015 – Kicking off a season of good cheer for schools and nonprofits across the Twin Cities, the Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi (RKMC) Foundation for Children today announced 14 grants totaling $1,345,000. The grants will support schools, innovative education programs, and other nonprofits serving Minnesota’s children – from high-performing schools with a strong track record of serving low-income children and students of color to organizations pushing for system-wide education reform. Read More.

Social Impact Project Launches in Minneapolis

June 3, 2015 – The next generation of Minnesota philanthropists is coming together around a new social impact project called The New Impact Fund. The New Impact Fund, which is just completing its first cohort, is rallying next generation leaders to leverage their philanthropy to take action. The New Impact Fund announces over $410,000 in investment for their first effort. Alicia Phillips of Redwood Philanthropic Advisors and Jason Blumenthal of the Fulcrum Group are launching the effort. Read More.

Mayor Hodges Announces Cradle to K Cabinet Members

May 22, 2014 – Mayor Betsy Hodges today announced the members of her Cradle to K Cabinet, a major initiative of her administration aimed at closing the achievement gap in the city’s education system by eliminating disparities for children from prenatal to three years old. Read More.

Way to Grow and Urban Ventures Announce Partnership

October 3, 2013 – Way to Grow offers one of the preeminent early learning programs in the Twin Cities, focusing on serving children during the most important stages of life — from prenatal to third-grade (or age 8). Urban Ventures seeks to “break the cycle of generational poverty” in south Minneapolis by offering programs to children, youth, and families that are focused on narrowing the achievement gap. Read More.

AT&T Provides $20,000 Contribution to Way to Grow for DreamTracksTM Teen Parenting Program

July 8, 2013 – AT&T today announced a $20,000 contribution to Way to Grow, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit organization dedicated to helping families and children from birth through third grade, age eight, succeed in school and life. Read More.

Generation Next, in Partnership with Greater Twin Cities United Way, Awards Subgrant to Way to Grow

April 16, 2013 – The Social Innovation Fund, now in its third year, is an initiative of the Corporation for National and Community Service. The SIF fund is intended to transform lives and communities by mobilizing public and private resources. Generation Next, in partnership with Greater Twin Cities United Way, was one of 20 recipients across the country and will support a strong portfolio of replicable, evidence-based youth programs. Read More.

Minneapolis Early Childhood Education Organization to Share Innovative Home Visiting Model with National Audience

February 14, 2013 – Way to Grow Executive Director Carolyn Smallwood and Way to Grow Director of Early Childhood Education, Carrie Johnson will share the presentation, Innovative Strategies in Home Visiting, at the 16th annual Beyond School Hours Conference on February 20-23, 2013 in Jacksonville, Florida. The Beyond School Hours Conference is the nation’s premier gathering of education practitioners and thought leaders from across the country, which offers the latest tools and insights to address the national grade level reading and literacy crisis to improve the outcomes of young people after the school day ends. Read More.


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