Footsteps2Brilliance commits to partner with four urban and four rural school districts to create eight new Model Innovation Cities over a three-year period. This commitment will provide literacy support services and tools to teachers, students, and families across an entire city or county to increase the number of children who are kindergarten ready and reading proficiently by third grade based on districts assessments and state test scores.
Specifically, the Footsteps2Brilliance program gives schools and families access to thousands of audio-encoded books, songs, and games that develop vocabulary, comprehension, literacy, and writing. In partnership with Footsteps2Brilliance, school districts will create engaging public awareness campaigns through billboards, banners, posters, and PSAs, inviting families to enroll in Footsteps2Brilliance and will help the families understand how to use the program. Footsteps2Brilliances professional development team will also guide teachers to create learning communities where families regularly come together to learn and share based on their experiences on the Footsteps2Brilliance program. As part of their strategy, Model Innovation Cities attract business stakeholder groups such as cellular companies and restaurants to help promote city-wide literacy.
The Footsteps2Brilliance Model Innovation City license creates turnkey, citywide, or countywide literacy solutions that allow school districts and the cities or counties that they support to cost effectively scale Pre-K through third grade literacy support services and tools to every family within their jurisdiction without spending additional funding on hardware, infrastructure, or maintenance.
To achieve this, Footsteps2Brilliance commits to lead the formation of the National Partnership for Early Literacy Innovation, which is dedicated to building a continuum of excellence for all children from birth through the third grade. The Partnership will consist of Footsteps2Brilliance, school districts, foundations, faith-based groups, corporate partners, and a range of other community stakeholders including elected officials and community-based organizations.
As the Partnerships core content and platform provider, Footsteps2Brilliance is making in-kind donations of access to its early literacy support services and tools to administrators, teachers, families, and community stakeholders in order to help children develop the early learning vocabulary and literacy skills necessary to enter school ready to learn and become proficient readers by 3rd grade.
Footsteps2Brilliance will utilize its embedded formative assessments to get the baseline data to compare student achievement results over time. The app uses a game-based pedagogical strategy to motivate students to answer assessment questions while still having fun and learning.
The National Partnership for Early Literacy Innovation will select a first cohort of the most innovative urban school districts serving populations that have high instances of poverty and dual language learners including Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, and New York City while also seeking out innovative rural school districts. The Partnership already includes six thought-leader Superintendents who will help identify their innovative colleagues as potential school districts to serve as Implementing Partners.
The first phase, beginning in June 2016, is to work with school leaders, local governments, and community partners in Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, and New York City to identify the potential new Implementing Partners using selection criteria including key characteristics such as innovative leaders, existing early learning infrastructure, exposure to media, etc. to implement Footsteps2Brilliance with fidelity.
Detailed timeline milestones for Year 1 include the following quarterly goals: Quarter 1 will focus on identifying two early adopter, urban school districts; Quarter 2 will focus on identifying two additional early adopter, rural school districts; Quarters 3 and 4 will focus on identifying four neighboring school districts from the early adopter groups.
Detailed timeline milestones for Year 2 include the following quarterly goals: Quarter 1 will focus on implementing early learning services at the two early adopter, urban school districts; Quarter 2 will focus on implementing early learning services at the two additional early adopter, rural school districts; Quarters 3 and 4 will focus on implementing early learning services at the four neighboring school districts from the early adopter groups.
Detailed timeline milestones for Year 3 include the following quarterly goals: Quarter 1 will focus on evaluating early learning success at the two early adopter, urban school districts; Quarter 2 will focus on evaluating early learning success at the two additional early adopter, rural school districts; Quarters 3 and 4 will focus on evaluating early learning success at the two neighboring school districts from the early adopter groups.
The commitments success will be measured by the number of teachers, students, families, and community stakeholders who interact with the Partnerships literacy support services and tools; the increase in vocabulary, reading comprehension skills, and writing skills of children served by the Partnership; and measures of kindergarten readiness and grade-level proficiency by 3rd grade based each districts assessments and state test scores.
The United States is in an historic moment today. Research on early learning has documented the long-lasting effects of early childhood education, yet school districts and cities are only now beginning to coordinate their efforts to support early learning in a systematic way. At the heart of the issue is that many school districts do not have the capacity or the authority to oversee Pre-K, and many early childhood organizations work in silos.
Research indicates that students who do not arrive in kindergarten with adequate literacy skills are significantly less likely to meet College & Career Readiness benchmarks throughout their entire K-12 education. These students are at highest risk of dropping out of school, engaging in high-risk behaviors, and becoming involved with juvenile protection and law enforcement agencies.
Meanwhile, with the ubiquitous adoption of mobile technology, over 80% of families own mobile devices today. Combining these trends, Footsteps2Brilliance's Model Innovation Cities allow school districts and mayors to coordinate efforts among all their stakeholders through a unifying technology platform and game-based curriculum without having to invest in the technological infrastructure.
Footsteps2Brilliance is an award-winning pre-K through third grade literacy solution available in English and Spanish that connects school, home, and community for academic success, utilizing a mobile technology platform that allows comprehensive literacy support services and tools to be accessed online or offline from any mobile device (Apple or Android) or a traditional computer. Footsteps2Brilliance has been recognized with the Association of Educational Publishers First Prize for Best ESL/ELL Edition and the National Parenting Publications Gold Award.
Taking a place-based approach, this technology enables school districts and other governmental agencies to leverage the mobile devices that parents already own to create Model Innovation Cities that improve early learning access and quality, support dual-language learners, and address funding challenges.
In order to scale appropriately, the National Partnership for Early Literacy Innovation is seeking innovative urban and rural superintendents, mayors, legislators, and community-based organizations, who can act as implementing partners for the Partnerships Model Innovation Cities. These implementing partners will need to commit their educational resources or financial support to this Partnership. Additionally, the National Partnership is seeking media support to disseminate information about the free services that are being offered to families within the partnering zip codes, and to showcase success.
The National Partnership for Early Literacy Innovation is committed to providing literacy resources to all children across the cities and counties served by participating School District Partners. The Partnerships Corporate Platform Provider, Footsteps2Brilliance, will provide millions of dollars of in-kind licenses to its participating School District Partners. When fully implemented, the value of serving the entire target area is more than $5 million.
The Partnership collaborates with nonprofit and corporate funders, foundations, and community organizations to fund the mission of the Partnership. Partner in-kind contributions (financial, technical, staff time, public relations and marketing support, technology infrastructure, etc.) are expected to double the total value of the initiative, with an impact across the selected communities of more than $10 million.