San Jose, CA: Based on President Cortese’s request, and the data on disparities in the Children’s Health Assessment, Supervisor Yeager presented a Board Referral, requesting that the County Administration report back to the Board on the feasibility, costs, and actions associated with creating universal access to quality child care, education, and health care. Supervisor Yeager recommended that a pilot involving school districts be considered for this universal system. Franklin-McKinley was selected as one of the pilot sites because the Board of Supervisors recognized our long history of collaboration with partners and our effectiveness in aligning and integrating the Early Learning Department within the District.
On January 9, 2018, the Franklin-McKinley Board of Education approved the Prenatal-3rd Grade Health & Early Learning System Plan. The Board of Education reaffirmed its commitment to ensuring all children start smart and strong in Franklin-McKinley.
Juan Cruz, Superintendent stated, "Learning begins at birth, and the relationships, environments, and opportunities that children experience before they become one of our students has a significant impact on their educational “career” and their long-term health and social and economic well-being."
This plan was developed based on the collective wisdom, experience, and passion of the Franklin-McKinley Partners some of which include FIRST 5 of Santa Clara County, Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County, Santa Clara County Office of Education, Head Start, and East Side Union High School District (Full list of partners is available in the plan).
"We have taken intentional, strategic steps to establish our Early Learning Department in Franklin-McKinley, and in the process have become known as a thought leader and model for other districts and communities to follow," said Superintendent Juan Cruz.
With our key partners, and in a parallel process with Alum Rock Union Elementary School District - the other selected pilot site - Franklin-McKinley developed a strategic plan that provides a road map for building a “Prenatal - 3rd Grade Pathway to Success.”
Melinda Waller, Director of Early Learning mentioned during the Board Meeting, "The Pathway articulates our theory of change: If we want children to be succeeding by 3rd grade, we, as partners, need to work together to ensure mothers have healthy pregnancies and births, and that children receive essential services and supports that support optimal development. We need a strong, integrated system in place that aligns policies, practices and funding across all of our partner agencies, including Franklin-McKinley school district and all the other agencies that serve our families."