learn / 2019

Long Beach 2019 Early Learning Initiative

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by Mayor's Fund for Education (Fiscal Sponsor: Community Partners)

The Long Beach 2019 Early Learning Initiative will support the implementation of the City’s Early Childhood Education Strategic Plan. The Long Beach community recognizes that child’s first 5 years are crucial for building the foundations that will affect how they learn and interact for the rest of their lives. This Initiative will build organizational capacity across multiple institutions to Expand Early Education Enrollment, Broaden Community Awareness, and Increase Family Support Resources.

Please list the organizations collaborating on this proposal.

  • City of Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services
  • Long Beach Early Childhood Education Committee

Briefly tell us a story that demonstrates how your organization turns inspiration into impact.

Life-long success, experts have discovered, starts very early. A child’s first 5 years are crucial for building the foundations that will affect how they learn, react, and interact with the world around them for the rest of their lives, as 90% of brain development happens during this period. As every dollar invested in ECE produces a 13% return, such investments are crucial to reducing the achievement gap, reducing the need for special education, increasing the likelihood of healthier lifestyles, lowering the crime rate, and reducing overall costs to society.

Approximately 7% of the Long Beach population is under 5 years old and 36% of Long Beach children are born into and live in poverty. Additionally, approximately 23% of Long Beach children are eligible for subsidized preschool enrollment, yet go unserved. This is particularly concerning as by age 4, low-income children have heard 30 million fewer words than their middle and upper-class peers, one determinant in the socio-economic achievement gap. Without targeted interventions, these children will have a higher likelihood of entering kindergarten behind their higher income and ECE-enrolled peers. Long Beach families have also expressed the need for increased resources for supporting the development of their children, support in finding and affording high-quality child care, social connection, and more communal locations supporting learning opportunities.

It is clear, therefore, that supporting early learning at home, in ECE centers, among parenting groups, in libraries, parks, or even pubic spaces can make a big difference for children and families. As a result, the City of Long Beach Health and Human Services Department, in collaboration with Mayor’s Fund for Education, the Long Beach Early Childhood Education Committee, and the Long Beach Unified School District, worked to create the Long Beach ECE Strategic Plan. This plan is a blueprint for collective action and making significant improvements for all children of Long Beach by removing barriers, considering the hole child, and ensuring that all children and their families receive the opportunities they need to succeed.

Which of the learn metrics will your submission impact?​

  • Proficiency in English and Language Arts and Math
  • Enrollment in early care and education programs

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • South Bay
  • Greater Long Beach Community

How will your project make LA the best place to learn?

The Mayor’s Fund for Education (Mayor’s Fund), in partnership with the City of Long Beach Health and Human Services Department and Long Beach Early Childhood Education Committee, its please to propose its Long Beach 2019 Early Learning Initiative (LB Initiative), supporting the implementation of the City’s recently adopted Early Childhood Education (ECE) Strategic Plan.

The Mayor’s Fund serves the City of Long Beach, the 7th most populous in California, 10th across the nation in overall diversity, and the 5th most LGBTQ+ friendly city in the nation. Of Long Beach’s nearly 500,000 populous, over 40% identifies as Latino/Hispanic, 29% identify as White, 13% identify as African American and over 12% identify as Asian (which includes the largest Cambodian population living outside of Cambodia). Approximately 26% of Long Beach residents are immigrants, 13.9% of households are headed by a single parent, and 7% of the population is under 5 years old.

The organizational capacity and program support provided by the LB Initiative will result in three key impacts beginning in July 2019, extending through June 2020: Expanded Early Education Enrollment, Broadened Community ECE Awareness, and Increased Family Support Resources. Through improved alignment of educational systems, community mapping, and data gathering, the Mayor’s Fund and its partners will more effectively meet the objectives of the ECE Strategic Plan and help ensure that all children have equitable access to learning opportunities.

The LB Initiative will help expand ECE enrollment by leveraging events such as Long Beach Early Learning Festivals and Celebration of the Young Child, which are well attended by ECE providers and families alike. These events enable partners to directly engage and inform families of the early education and enrollment options available to them. Additionally, recognizing that enrollment cannot expand without adequately staffed ECE centers, the Mayor’s Fund will support higher education pathways to this career by helping to increase internship placements within centers.

Outside of individual events, the LB Initiative will also develop and implement Awareness Campaigns to provide consistent and highly visible messages around the importance of ECE and enrollment. With the added benefit of its connection to the office of Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia (one of the most highly visible figures in the area), the Mayor’s Fund will be able to help in the dissemination of these messages to a very broad audience.

Finally, the Mayor’s Fund aims to support early learning in a variety of settings and all children building crucial foundational skills by making developmentally-appropriate learning techniques readily accessible to all families. The LB Initiative will support families in their role as a child’s “first teacher” by expanding family support resources — including its ReadyRosie Family Engagement Program and various parent training workshops.

In what stage of innovation is this project?

Expand existing program (expanding and continuing ongoing successful projects)

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.

The cultural and perception shift targeted by the LB Initiative efforts (i.e. increased early education enrollment) can be difficult to track within a single year. However, success of the LB Initiative can still be evidenced by indicators within all three of the impact areas outlined above - Expanding Early Education Enrollment, Broadening Community Awareness, and Increasing Family Resources.

These include:

o Increased attendance at community engagement events

o High attendee satisfaction ratings from community engagement events

o Increased internships facilitated within early education settings

o Overall Impressions from digital and/or printed campaign materials

o Consistent engagement with social media posts

o Increased attendance at parent training opportunities

o High attendee satisfaction ratings from parent trainings

o Increased registrations with ReadyRosieLB

o Increased ReadyRosie Family Learning Outcomes

Over time, the Mayor’s Fund and our partners will be able to verify if these efforts have a quantifiable impact on regional preschool enrollment.