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Result 1.1 Children in McLennan County are healthy, safe, and successful learners

Indicator 1.1.1 Percent of students who are pre-kindergarten ready (CLI Engage)

Current Value




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Story Behind the Curve

Despite working on alignment for the last two years, fewer children are entering pre-kindergarten ready to learn.

Data comes from the CLI's Engage platform, a free monitoring tool used by local school districts to assess progress on five domains of learning. Our indicator looks at pre-kindergarten students taking the English-language assessment during Wave 1, meaning the assessment is completed near the start of the school year. Currently the indicator only takes into account students in Waco ISD, but we will include data from La Vega ISD by the end of the year.

Factors that have contributed to improvement:

  • (Most important) District and State-wide adoption of monitoring tools - This allows for school officials and community partners to understand how children in our community are entering school.  We can also see the data by campus level allowing partners to target their efforts efficiently. The monitoring tools now being used include: CLI Engage, TX KEA, and iStation. 
  • Increased cross-sector community outreach by community partners - Partners have increased the number and quality of events in our community. The partnerships are giving parents more options to learn about early childhood education. We anticipate the number of partnership to continue to grow as communication between the partners also increases.
  • Increased importance placed on professional development and certifications - Additional training opportunities were provided by local partners to bring in professional development for our early childhood educators.  
  • Identification of useful information to distribute, like the Parent Engagement app, DailyVROOM, help encourage parent-child interactions.  Information will include notable milestones for children, encouraging parents to become brain builders, and parents as the child's first teacher.
  • Home visiting programs have increased their capacity to serve families and have begun discussing how to most effective impact our community. Programs added additional parent educators that can assist additional families. 


Limiting factors:

  • Reduction in local resources has left families without a trust source of information in our community. This is, in part, due to the economic depression experience 3 to 4 year ago.  The Texas Legislature also plays a role because they have deemed education is not a priority and pulled back on potential funding streams once relied upon by partners.
    • Quality childcare is still hard to find and often not affordable.  
    • There are long waiting lists at several centers in town; other centers have closed their doors. 
    • This is also leading to increases in adverse childhood experiences. 
  • Limited professional development training available.  
    • The term early childhood educator is more of a blanket term without any type of certification or qualifications attached. 
    • Those that are trained, do not stay on the job long.  Our community suffers from high teacher turnover and a loss of trained personal.

Anticipated Factors: 

  • The working group will soon move towards a measure of kindergarten readiness.  This is because of recent data that stresses the importance of pre-kindergarten on kindergarten readiness.
  • United Way has recently renewed their commitment to early childhood education.


Education and Home Visiting Partners

  • HOPES (Healthy Outcomes through Prevention and Early Support): reduce # of child abuse and neglect in MCL - parenting support
  • McLennan Community College: provide training for Early edu & community college
  • AVANCE: 0-3 and parenting program/home visiting/ESL & GED
  • Workforce board CCS: Support childcare industry, econ stability for parents, childcare quality improvement, safe environment for 0-12
  • EOAC: connected through workforce/ TRS, head start programs
  • Klaras Center ECI: providing early id of developmental delays and how to max/ development
  • Nurse Family Partnership: home assessments of child dev
  • Region 12 ESC: trainings and connections throughout community
  • Talitha Koum: children who have trauma histories and adverse childhood experiences - parenting program, and trainings - also embedded in local ISDs
  • Junior League of Waco: supportive of ongoing projects, $$$
  • Mayborn Museum: Hands on activities, community days 
  • CareNet: enrichment care for 0-4, positive attachment
  • Libraries: edu programs of 0-17, literacy/ social skills, tech skills; museum passes; summer reading; 1000 books before kindergarten
  • Waco ISD: pre-kinder program, Parents as Teachers

Potential Partners:

  • Hospitals are missing from the conversation and are a big player in our community.
  • Parents and Families are missing from the conversation.

What Works

Evidence Based/Research Based Actions
  • Trauma informed care
  • Professional Development for early childhood educators
  • Postpartum depression services for new mothers
Low-cost/No-Cost Actions
  • Reach out to new childcare centers - provide information/training opportunities
  • granny support group
  • 1-2-3 school readiness guide
  • child care guide - what to look for?
Off the Wall
  • Movie night with resources (Brazos family night)
  • Remove TVs from childcare centers
  • Access to contraception - family planning & education
  • early childhood in a global sense -all parents approach 
  • Local news stations - PSAs about school readiness
Additional Research Needed
  • Does school readiness differ by community location/campus?
  • What are some cultural differences that are influencing school readiness?
  • Median age of parents?


  1. Continue to promote the DailyVroom app at Meet the Teacher and other beginning of the year school events. 
    1. Who: Partners and Waco ISD will have flyers and booths about DailyVroom at each event
    2. What: Booths, banners, and fliers will be available along with staff to assist in downloading in real time
    3. When: Begin preparing a list of events in June 2018 and execute through September 2018
    4. Why: Parents who have a small child entering pre-kindergarten or kindergarten might have other younger children who can benefit from the app
  2. Partner with Libraries to promote family reading sessions for children ages 0 to 5.
    1. Who: Home visiting programs and other informal learning groups
    2. What: Cross promoting and attending one another's events and establishing community-wide reading days & 1000 books before kindergarten
    3. When: Beginning immediately - monthly check-ins with the library on attendance
    4. Why: Spreading awareness about literacy from a young age will enhance a child's vocabulary and letter recognition before entering school
  3. Develop an easy 1-2-3 School Readiness informational guide for local parents and caregivers to distribute at community events.
    1. Who: All working group partners
    2. What: Develop, design, and test an information guide to help inform parents about school readiness
    3. When: Pilot testing in Spring 2018 and Final version ready by June 2018
    4. Why: These partnerships with the library help promote resources and reinforce the message that parents are their child's first teacher

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