June 2016 Kindergarten Readiness Update

During the TCCC Board of Directors’ Annual Meeting on June 15, 2016, the following update on the Kindergarten Readiness Network was provided by Chris Kerrigan, President & CEO of the Trident United Way.  (TUW serves as Convening Partner for the KRN.)

Noteworthy Milestones for the Kindergarten Readiness Network
from December 2015 to May 2016

Community Outreach

Focus Groups

  • In order to validate the two tentative catalytic projects (1) expansion of the SC Vouchers program and (2) the development of a Resource Hub, Trident United Way contracted with a professional qualitative researcher to facilitate community engagement with community members the Kindergarten Readiness Network intends to serve.
  • TUW partnered with the First Steps Office of Charleston and Berkeley Counties, MAIA Moms, and Nurse Family Partnership to engage low-income mothers and child care directors to affirm or reject the tenants of the previously proposed catalytic projects.
  • We summarized the focus group findings into a report and presented them at the May Kindergarten Readiness Network Convening. The focus group takeaways included:
    • A desire from Child Care Director to receive professional development training and knowledge about staff retention best practices;
    • A desire to communicate more effectively with parents about child rearing practices;
    • A desire to receive more child development and local health related Kindergarten Readiness information in a digital and hard copy format;
    • Understanding the systemic issues preventing parents from remaining enrolled in the SC Voucher program;
    • Parents want to receive Kindergarten Readiness resources and guidance from trusted allies ; and
    • Parents want customized personalized outreach and they want a hard copy and a physical location to receive early education and child development resources.

KR Survey with Child Care Directors

  • In partnership with the First Steps Office of Charleston County, we conducted an online survey with nearly two dozen child care directors to supplement the focus group outreach and gain user information about the viability of our catalytic projects.
  • The survey also affirmed the need to have information about professional development for child care directors and access to digital Kindergarten Readiness resources.

Kindergarten Readiness Network

Kindergarten Readiness Network Convening

  • TUW hosted a Kindergarten Readiness Convening in May 2016. The network voted and confirmed the creation of a Kindergarten Readiness Resource Hub catalytic project. This will come in the form of a physical location and an online component. It will provide parents, families, community organizations, and practitioners with access to information that is related to Kindergarten Readiness. Over the next few months, the network will work to develop an implementation and assessment plan. The network has already started to collect information and translate them into user friendly documents that would assist community members with referral services. Additionally, the Prosperity Center has been designated as potential location to host the Resource Hub.

Guiding Team and Kindergarten Readiness Network

  • We have added two new active members to the Guiding Team: (1) Dr. Herman Knopf, Research Director at the Child Development Center at USC and (2) Professor Kelley White from the College of Charleston. The partnership with USC has been extremely beneficial. With a grant they received from DSS, they identify and map the existing childcare landscape in the Tricounty. Additionally, access to this set of granular data will help our systems level approach and increase the capacity of network partners.
  • The network has grown by 50 members since last December and network members feel more engaged and energized about the work than they felt in the fall based on survey implemented at the last Kindergarten Readiness Convening.


Post and Courier Op-Ed

  • John Read and Chris Kerrigan co-wrote a Kindergarten Readiness op-ed for the Post and Courier at the end of December.

June 2016 Adult Learners Project Team Update

The following update was presented to the TCCC Board of Directors during their annual Annual Meeting on June 15, 2016.


Attract more adults to member institutions to obtain a 2- or 4-year degree, certificate or graduate degree in order to develop their life and workplace skills and to meet employer needs.

The adults transitioning from 2- to 4-year degrees and graduate degree enrollment are potential areas for future work.

Opportunities for collaboration among IHEs (e.g. cross-institution course credits) are also potential agenda items.


To increase degree completion and the acquisition of other credentials at member institutions by local residents, representative of the diversity of the region’s workforce and population, through expanded tuition support and course offerings that match employment opportunities


  • Identify the significant areas of personal barriers (academically or in other ways) and resources available to improve readiness. Identify gaps in resource availability and potentials ways to fill them.
    • Focus on overcoming common barriers and collaborating on common benefits to prospective students
    • Emphasis on Low Cost/No Cost methods
  • Identify where prospective students are located, how to reach them and what messaging is effective in increasing response. What collective marketing strategies might be effective at bringing prospective students to the ‘front door’ of member institutions?
  • Identify the most significant ‘external’ barriers for returning adults (transportation, finance, child care, etc.) and what might be done to both communicate where assistance is available and possibly to provide solutions collaboratively
  • Determine the extent of tuition support available and in use in the region, in support of employees returning to obtain their degree. Make recommendations for further action by the business community and public sector to expand availability, access and use.
  • Collaboratively, work with the business community (and public sector) to identify courses and programs that fill workforce gaps. Identify best practice and align career exploration tools with regional labor market opportunities.


  • Member IHE Total Enrollment (spring semester) and Total Degree Completion annually (2015 and 2016 academic years, with 2016 establishing the base line)
    • Ages 21-64
    • By gender and ethnicity
    • Unduplicated
  • Tuition Support
    • # of students enrolled receiving tuition support from their employer/total tuition support $ (2016 academic year)
    • # of employers offering tuition support/# employees covered/% utilization (2016)

Data submitted will be aggregated and shared with the group in that form. No individual IHE data will be shared with members of the group or anyone else without the expressed written consent of the IHE.

June 2016 Math Pathways Project Team Report

The following update was presented to the TCCC Board of Directors during their annual Annual Meeting on June 15, 2016.

Team Mission

Create and define Strategies and implement Actions that deliver a comprehensive set of Systems and Programs that achieve the Math Pathways Vision

 Our Vision

Ensuring mathematical proficiency by 2025, so that ALL Tri-County students are ready for their college and career aspirations


  • Drive mathematical proficiency improvements into the entire educational system, pre-K, K-8 and High School.
  • Put in place a set of initial strategies. As required, adjust them and/or add to them as implementation occurs.
  • Utilize and/or rework where applicable current programs in place. Identify and utilize additional leading edge math proficiency programs within Tri-county, South Carolina and across the nation to achieve the best return on investment
  • Motivate all educational stakeholders (e.g. teachers, math specialists, school board, etc.) to ensure they are “on board” and understand that their role is important.
  • Conduct on-going evaluations of program implementation. Measure implementation progress.  Recognize successes and identify revisions as required to achieve success.

 Initial Project Strategies

  • Develop and implement changes in teacher/educator training curriculum
    • Assures “all” future teachers have strong math basics
    • Provides professional development for veteran teachers
    • Communicates the “How and Why”
    • Alignment on what ‘Proficiency’ should mean
  • Create professional mathematical collaboration/conversation forums
    • Teacher to teacher, coach to teacher
    • PLCs
    • Elementary Math Specialists, full-time positions
    • Deepen the understanding of ‘Proficiency’ (Principles in Action)
  • Identify and implement math program improvements/changes.
    • Includes, but is not limited to, new math curriculum, remedial programs and tutorial programs
    • Leading edge programs within tri-county, state and national school systems
    • A set of time lined and prioritized set of changes
  • Define and create awareness of “Specific Math Pathways” from high school to college.
    • Defines sequencing and timing
    • Communicates the “How and Why”
    • Reduces the risk of skills degradation
    • Is clear and transparent to both students and parents
  • Address the shortage of qualified math teachers in the region
    • Apparent decline in students enrolling in Schools of Education
    • Incentives for more students becoming math teachers
    • Schools of Ed. curriculum

June 2016 High School Graduation Network Report

During the TCCC Board of Directors’ Annual Meeting on June 15, 2016, the following update on the High School Graduation Network was provided by Brian Derreberry, President & CEO of the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce.  (The Chamber serves as Convening Partner for the HSGN.)

GOAL: Increase high school graduation of career and college ready students

APPROACH: To align all public high school stakeholder groups around increasing the region’s high school graduation rate

  • The Network and Guiding Team have been up and running for 15 months with their primary focus being to gain a greater understanding of the factors that are leading to students in regional high schools dropping out.
  • John Read/Mary Graham have assessed progress to date and agreed to “hit the re-set” button in moving to specific strategies and actions to improve the graduation and readiness rates.
  • Mary Graham will meet one-on-one with members of the Guiding Team, over the next two to three weeks, to ask for their continued commitment and get input into where they think the Network should focus its strategies and targeted program efforts.
  • Guiding Team meetings will be held in July and August of 2016 with the full Network meeting in September. The Guiding Team will work to identify goals and objectives to present to the Network for discussion, agreement and subsequent implementation during the upcoming school year.
  • We will complete the research already underway of “collecting voices” from students.
  • We will complete the best practices of efforts within high schools in the region to help at risk students successfully graduate.
  • We will be distributing a teacher survey to gain their input and will distribute through the teachers involved in the Career Academies as one means of distribution.
  • Our plan is to take the five areas identified at the October 2015 Network meeting and ensure we are building upon that work and identify and implement projects/strategies around the five areas. (Five areas include:  (1) Ensuring students have caring, compassionate adult support; (2) developing and providing mental health resources and support; (3) advocacy for Graduation rate options; (4) creating effective community partnerships; and (5) special needs students’ support).
  • Current projects underway that were identified at the April Network meeting will continue:
    • Researching and developing a robust mentoring system
    • Inventorying non-profits within the Network already involved in area high schools and talk to them about the needs/gaps they see within the schools
  • The Chamber’s Advocacy team will convene a group of educators, Trident United Way and others this summer to outline a legislative agenda around education. The plan will be both near-term and long-term legislative objectives.