Case Studies

Case Study: Leadership Development at Scale: Louisiana Early Leaders Academy

“How do we expand and deepen the leadership of Louisiana’s early childhood center directors?”

In 2019, we launched the Louisiana Early Leaders Academy at the Louisiana Department of Education. We were inspired to do this because we saw that while the average early childhood teacher worked for 2 or so years, directors stayed in their centers for 7-9 years. How could we leverage these leaders to increase both organizational culture (to increase teacher retention) and improve systems?  In my role as the Director of Early Childhood Leadership Development, I (founder, Emmy O’Dwyer) conducted a landscape analysis, designed a pilot that won us second place at Harvard’s Saul Zaentz Innovation Challenge, secured full funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and launched an RFP process to identify a vendor to implement the program. Now in its fourth year, we have trained over 120 directors across the state, who increasingly lead at national, state, and local levels. 

Read about how we have created a climate for recognition for early educators.

Case Study: Advising: Ready by Five Program Evaluation in Kent County, Michigan

“How do we evaluate 39 millage-funded programs with an equity and inclusion lens, and plan for improvement?”
Kent County is one of the many communities in the US that are using local tax dollars (millage funding) to fund its early childhood programs, betting on the positive impact proactive support can provide a family. To fully understand the value-add of the 39 programs available to families, Kent County, and the funding administrator First Steps Kent, solicited an evaluation. In 2021, Basis Policy Research was identified to lead the process after an RFP process. All involved recognized the need for an evaluation team member to ensure that an equity and inclusion lens would be utilized throughout the process. Advancing Communities for Equity has played this role since 2021, working alongside the Basis and First Steps Kent, to consider how historically marginalized communities are engaged by programs, and the evaluation process itself. Close examination of outreach and navigation strategies, relationships with community based organizations, and the lived experiences of families has helped inform improved access for families.
Read a blog post about my learnings from the first year of this work.

Case Study: Strategy Development: Jefferson Ready Start Network, Louisiana

“Why are so few Latino families enrolled in early care opportunities in Jefferson Parish, and what can we do to change that?”
That’s the question that was posed to us, when Dr. Sarintha Stricklin, Executive Director of Jefferson Ready Start Network engaged Advancing Communities for Equity. With a bustling Latino population, and a PreK-12 system of over 15% Latino students, we recognized this complex problem was laden with systemic issues related to inclusion, representation, communication, and policy. Through a landscape analysis, family focus groups, and community engagement, we developed a report of our findings. Subsequently, we have hosted a series of stakeholder engagement meetings, cultivated community partnerships, and developed a two-generation program that provides employment and training to parents while their children enjoy high quality child care. In 6 months since the release of the report, the number of Latino children served in formal early learning centers has increased by 5%. We continue to support all early learning centers in Jefferson Parish in becoming culturally and linguistically responsive, to better serve Latino families.