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Chautauqua County Education Coalition receives grant from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation

Submitted Photo Jamestown Community Learning Council’s Parents As Teachers home visitor, Michelle Danielson-Faulk enjoys explaining to Jenna Pellerino that her children, Attica and Nicholas Doud are developing skills such as problem-solving, memory, eye-hand coordination and pre-literacy as she shares several books while they play with interactive learning toys during a recent visit in their home.

The Chautauqua County Education Coalition (CCEC) recently got a grant of $138,200 from the Ralph Wilson Foundation to continue its expansion of Jamestown Community Learning Council’s (JCLC) Parents as Teachers (PAT) program throughout Chautauqua County School Districts.

PAT is an evidence-based program designed to enhance child development and school achievement through parent participation in developmentally appropriate early childhood activities facilitated by home/school liaisons during home visits. It can serve families throughout pregnancy until their child enters first grade. There are three primary goals of PAT: increase parent knowledge of early childhood development and improve parenting practices, provide early detection of developmental delays and health issues, and increase children’s school readiness and success.

Research indicates there are “windows of opportunity” from birth throughout the early years when learning takes place more easily. Parents As Teachers helps parents become more aware of these stages of development by providing information that helps to nurture and support the cognitive, emotional, social and physical well-being of children. Developmental strengths as well as possible delays can be more easily recognized when parents understand what to expect during each stage of development and how to capture the teachable moments in everyday life that will encourage their child’s growth in all learning domains.

The CCEC is a dynamic public-private partnership made up of 125 stakeholders representing 70 organizations and is the catalyst for collaboration around four components within Chautauqua County’s educational system: Early Childhood, Middle School to High School Career Pathways, Current Employer Needs and Community Collaboration. Through a community process the Chautauqua County Education Coalition identified the Parents as Teachers program as a catalytic project in early childhood for Chautauqua County. Jamestown Community Learning Council has been delivering PAT for over 19 years to hundreds of community families with funding from school districts and local foundations. Through the securement of these additional grant funds PAT services will be offered at more districts throughout the county. The overall goal to this project is to help children achieve school and life success with increased educational achievement through parent engagement. Districts self-select by participating in the program through Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES.

This is the second major funding award leveraged by the CCEC to support the Parents as Teachers program in Chautauqua County. The first was a $100,000 award from the Cummins Foundation back in October of 2018. With the endorsement of PAT by the Coalition and the support of E2CC BOCES chief administrators, a Community Schools service proposal was put forth and approved by New York State Education in January 2018. PAT is available to school districts seeking to make the program available in their community.

“This is a true testament to how private and public partnerships can work successfully. After over a decade of effort by numerous community supporters who stayed the course, we can scale this program across the county. The generous grant from first the Cummins Foundation and now the Ralph Wilson Foundation will leave a lasting impact on the families of Chautauqua County long into the future and will help school superintendents bring the program to their districts,” states CCEC executive director, Justin Hanft. All in all, this project is anticipated to reach 60 additional families in Chautauqua County.

Rosary Kolivas, JCLC executive director further adds that, “Interested districts wanting to participate in this program should reach out and schedule an appointment with our office right away. We want to continue to build off the momentum we have built and serve your students and families beginning this coming fall in time for the new school year.”

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