TCCC announces new Convener for High School Graduation Network

The Boeing Company has agreed to serve as Convener for Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative’s High School Graduation Network, replacing the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, which stepped down from the post in May.

“We at Boeing are firm believers that all members of the community can and should be engaged in assuring high-quality education for all students and college and career readiness for our high school graduates,” Boeing South Carolina Senior Manager of Global Corporate Citizenship Jessica Jackson said. “We must ensure that students develop and learn the skills needed to work in a globally competitive environment. The High School Graduation Network is already working hard to achieve that vision, and we look forward to participating in this new capacity.”

Jackson will chair the Guiding Team and the High School Graduation Network when it convenes in September.

To read more about our new Convener, visit: 

Kindergarten Readiness Network Says ‘Yes’

Today the Kindergarten Readiness Network voted overwhelmingly to proceed into the due-diligence period with Family Connects, an evidence-based program that’s intended to serve all families with newborns in the region.

Through Family Connects, nurses visit newborns and their families at their homes in the first three months of life to connect them with community resources and health care providers.

Intensive planning for the program will take place over the next nine months during the due diligence period, and we have already received commitments from Trident United Way and The Duke Endowment to fund the work.

Welcome, new board members!

Our Board of Directors voted today to add two new board members!

Welcome to the team:

  • Scott Sharp, TD Bank
  • Laura Varn, Community Volunteer

Volvo Car Group executive joins Tri-County Cradle to Career board

We’ve added a new board member and two staff members!

Katarina Fjording has been elected to the TCCC Board of Directors. Fjording is the Vice President,
Purchasing and Manufacturing, Americas, for Volvo Car Group.

Alexa Stephens, who has been serving as TCCC’s Director of Data Management and Analysis, has
accepted a new position to oversee TCCC’s community engagement work as Director of Strategy and
Community Insight.

Sarah Piwinski has joined the staff as the Director of Data Management and Analysis, filling the vacancy
left by Stephens.

Ashley Heffernan has joined the staff as the Director of Communication and Administration, replacing
Amy Asper, who has decided to return to part-time employment.

Read more about our new additions here:

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.


What is a Network Partner?


TCCC has formed Collaborative Networks comprised of Network Partners focused on improving outcomes for key content areas.  Network Partners agree to support Collaborative Networks through the following:

  • Commit to making progress for all children affected by the indicator
  • Participate in the Tri-county Region Improvement Process (TRIP!) with a focus on data driven decision-making.
  • Dedicate efforts to address the achievement gap and advance equity with a specific focus on racial and ethnic disparities.
  • Participate in outreach activities to ensure that the right stakeholders are involved, and that communities most impacted by the problems addressed by the Collaborative Network have a voice.
  • Honor agreements and decisions made by the Collaborative Network.
  • Respect the confidentiality of data, comments made by other Partners or other information when shared in confidence within the Collaborative Network.
  • When appropriate and/or agreed upon, communicate the work of the Collaborative Network to others through appropriate channels (i.e., newsletters, social media, etc.).
  • Attend no less than 80% of regular meetings of the Collaborative Network.
  • Participate actively in all meetings, sharing data, knowledge, information and resources.
  • Select a delegate to consistently represent the organization.
  • Stay informed and engaged between meetings by reviewing meeting notes and other materials distributed via e-mail, online, etc.

This Network Partner Agreement is a statement of intent only, is not legally binding upon the parties, and implies no financial commitment on the part of any partner member.

Literacy Town Hall: Break-Out Discussion Notes

Thanks to those who participated in the break-out discussions at the March 7, 2016 Literacy Town Hall meeting hosted by Reading Partners and TCCC.  The following notes resulted from the guided discussions and will help inform TCCC as we develop a path forward to improve literacy.

What in your experiences are the factors contributing to proficiency in early literacy?
  • early interventionist trained and Reading Recovery
  • talk and oral language and using play to develop language
  • conducting parental workshops
  • working pediatricians to identify students who have sight or hearing issues
  • provide audio rich home environments (read, speak, storytelling, question and response interaction, oral engagement)
  • parent child home program home visitation program that teaches parents how to read to their child (Charleston County  using Title I dollars to help fund this program but only 1012 families)
  • need to partner with employees who can provide parents the opportunity to be involved in their child’s education
  • Adult education programs
  • Early Intervention
  • Building vocabulary
  • The acknowledgement that there are many factors to proficiency
  • Access to books
  • Differentiation of instruction
  • Being inclusive of parents knowing what is happening at home for each child
  • Focusing on the individual child
  • Focusing on the whole child
  • Meeting basic needs of the family first
  • Good prenatal care
  • The ability of teachers to recognize the factors
  • Knowing how to use data
  • Having a plan for every child, being positive in our approach to messaging all children need an individual plan, not just those in poverty, or of a certain race
  • Having high expectations for all children
  • 2 year olds in quality program
  • Assessment of parents’ ability to educate (especially for ESL students)
  • Mothers Reading Skills
  • Exposure to reading in the home
  • Vocabulary
  • Social/Emotional
  • Early Attachment
  • Culture
  • Family Telling Stories with pictures
  • Focus on Fluency – articulation (audio Tapes)
  • Libraries could help – give books to parents
  • Differentiate ways to influence literacy (help parents/teachers/everyone know what to do)
  • Multi-generational grandparents involved
  • Environment – set tone at the school – professional standards for everyone who comes into school
  • Shouldn’t fail students – retention is not the answer
  • Takes time for some children to learn to read (5 years)need to give them the time they need
  • Parents need to know about Read to Succeed – time to get prepared
  • Factory mentality in the classroom to much focus on classroom management – students need to move around
  • 1:1 reading starting very early, reward recognition anywhere
  • Lack of books
  • # of words children do know ora re even familiar with
  • Reading partners gets to take books home
  • 98% K-5th don’t know vowels
  • Lack of phonics
  • Lack of teachers trained on phonics
  • Simple word recognition – in public places -> could be a parent tip
  • Need for more parent awareness of what things they can do to help their children
  • Utilization of libraries
  • A public internet campaign would help
  • John – multi-generational situations, toxic surroundings – what strategies would help?
  • How do we help children get the reading bug
  • The difficulty of parents’ own literacy exposure to “language” by parents speaking to them.
  • How do we get parents to expose children to language?
  • After lack of respect for authority by these children need parental education on respecting authority
  • If we caught the parents before they became parents (even at high school) to prepeare tehm and educate them
  • Parent education on how they can begin even after birth to elp them prepare
  • Parental contracts might help (shared)
  • Preparation of exposure
  • Home environment -> vocab development; 30M word gap
  • Lack of control over home environment
  • How kids have learned to adapt; kids ‘read’ from pictures or recite books they’ve memorized -> allows kids to ‘fly under the radar’
  • Role of libraries was taken advantage of more in past and is sometimes harder now b/c of transportation
  • Oral language and sense of story are critical; helps w/ questions and answers, job interviews
  • Lack of non-stigmatized parental education programs (MN has a great state program, similar to something previously in Chas w/ Sharon Ward)
Where have you encountered ‘bright spots’ that have shown positive outcomes in early literacy?
  • Meeting Street Academy at Brentwood
  • Harlem Children Zone Baby College
  • Reading Recovery
  • Adult Education TLA  simultaneous learning for adult and child. GED and then childcare lessons
  • Library reading programs
  • Going to migrant camps to do outreach to families with young children
  • Parent – Child Home Program (in Dorchester County through First Steps)
  • All programs of First Steps
  • WIC conducting story-time with children and mothers while waiting for their appointment
  • Accessing the Reading Warehouse (Dorchester County)
  • Infant toddler books in school libraries that families can check out (more like a take a book program)
  • Primary Grades Academy Offers Reading Recovery and literacy intervention
  • Barnes and Noble providing books, need to mine this resource more effectively
  • Scholastic Book Partners (consider finding a way for businesses to help with this)
  • Book Worm Angels
  • Michelle Obama Access to online text all districts have this and need to get the word out
  • Title 1 Parent Centers (Dorchester)
  • Cainhoy capitalized on business, church, and other partnerships in the community to identify interventions and then implement them together (Reading Partners and others). Mr. Dixon
  • Conduct training with teachers on the Tiers of Intervention so they know and trust what students are leaving their classroom for
  • DDS Reading Buddies Volunteers in kindergarten classrooms to help with reading, how to read a book, provide 1:1 reading and tutoring mostly retired teachers (some trained on Reading Recovery)
  • Tutoring with Reading Partners – child moving to reading at grade level or above
  • Mentoring/coaching teachers
  • Parents showing success – kids do better
  • Mother getting GED – wanting to be an example for child
  • Small steps in literacy should be recognized—any improvement should be recognized
  • Showing examples from other places – other cultures country to help child see what is possible
  • Meeting Street Academy works—need to build a community where everyone contributes – helps to better the community
  • Help kids be responsible for their own future
  • Help parents live out of poverty – focus on positive skill building
  • Schools need to be welcoming
  • Don’t use “poverty” word – it puts people in a box
  • Models that require a commitment in writing from the parent to be involved
  • Intervention of literacy – if only singular event – can have an effect, but is dissipates over time
  • 3-4k time frame – literacy and social needs sustained time
  • 1:1 want play, build literacy into a play experience
  • Make it interactive
  • Dolly Parton rep – part of the success is due to its reputation. Children look for the arrival of new books. Creating excitement from a very early age so not scared by it once they get to school
  • I—BEAM – the multi-year and 1on 1 interaction w/ a student is important from grade 2-5. Some want to follow their child into middle school.
  • Reading partners training vital and a part of its being a ‘bright spot’
  • One RP volunteers student wants her to continye into 4th She wants that too
  • The effectiveness of RP may also depend on the school and consistent leadership w/in the specific school. If the schools’ program is not effective, the school may need to be changed b/c the cost and desire of other schools to have the program
  • Having the same teacher pre-k-K can also have a huge impact
  • Positive feedback by caring adult important b/c it’s not always in their homes
  • Multiple systems that work together really well – PALS and Reading Recovery
  • Language training for staff and daycares and child development centers
  • Positive physical learning environment (school facilities themselves) can help
  • Getting age appropriate books for very young children
  • Early literacy is everything a child learns before they begin to read and write
  • Helpful for parents to narrate life out loud to kids (ex. talk about washing dishes as you wash the dishes)
  • Earliest interventions are most effective
  • Have students read back and retell stories
  • Listen to children read
  • Read in front of child
  • Send books home
  • Invite parents into things like “literacy nights” so have workshops parental surveys
  • Need to get diverse people to the table like Dads, Retirees who are not traditionally there
  • Emphasize the good things about education reform
  • Partnering with Adult Education programs
  • Parent University (Charleston and Berkeley Counties)
  • Using Parent Educators
  • Parenting Partners helps parents teach literacy skills
  • Develop a marketing campaign to show the benefits of literacy for parents
  • Augment the Head Start model to reach parents who are not part of Head Start and Early Head Start
  • Use Early Release Days to hold an Interactive Parenting Event for PreK and K students
  • Parent Nights
  • Include legislators in this conversation
  • Include student and partners on the panel and in the discussion
  • Put effort into helping get parents engaged
  • Grass roots level involvement
  • Parent activities on the weekend – use for opportunity to educate parents about ways to get involved
  • Open programs in the community – have the community generate ideas not tell them what has already been decided
  • Include parents in the conversation and decision making
  • Also include parents in the planning when making school changes
  • There is general distrust from parents – help to bridge that trust gap
  • It takes a village to raise a child – anyone who is interested or willing to be involved including all businesses
  • Communication – dissemination of information to community is important
  • Most parents will not know about Read to Success – need to let them know what will happen and how they can help their child
  • Need to let parents know through TV, Town Hall for Parents, Churches
  • Avoid parachuting solutions on parents
  • How do we partners work w/ parents, caregivers, teachers, for early childhood literacy
  • RP – Are we asking wrong questions when looking for vols? The faith-based influence is very strong in the communities. e. CAJM role model – gather together to ask their hopes and dreams for their children (in a safe place – context as well as right question)
  • How to get the general public, uninterested persons to care – the # or amount of $ it costs for a drop out
  • RP – one was recruited from a speaker presenting at her church
  • Important to feed the parents – poverty’s such an impact. Invisible in the lives of students of their family / social challenges/lifestyle.
  • Parents often work hours which make it impossible to participate
  • People in need – have to reach them where they are – where it is convenient for them
  • Many false starts – promises made and NOT upheld makes public wary
  • Unless there is an effective teacher in a classroom w/ an effective principal, no program added will be less effective
  • I said I didn’t know about RP – need more publicity and exposure to prospective volunteers
  • Need very strategic way to get volunteers exec. of RP
  • Transportation for summer enrichment is a challenge, so put programs in close physical proximity to kids’ homes
  • Make reading part of faith experiences (@ church)
  • Engage college students in afterschool programs b/c it’s not always reasonable to expect additional hours of teachers and b/c college students are more like peers and therefore kids are more apt to be comfortable interacting w/ them as non-authoritarian adults
  • Use “silver power” – New chapter of Epsilon Sigma Alpha at Del Webb retirement community wants to work at Cane Bay Elem. but can’t get into school
  • RP volunteer – moved here from CT but probably wouldn’t have if had known about the state of education in SC
  • RP recruits at Ashley Hall and Porter Gaud
  • Need more involvement from business community
  • Align standards to workforce needs and hold accountable to that
  • Host a business panel to talk to teachers, administrators and parents about what businesses need from graduates -> tell legislators and regulators to align to those standards
  • Expand upon the “profile of a graduate” and set clear expectations of the skills and abilities needed for the workforce
  • Get rotary volunteers / Rotary Readers; engage retirees and new residents
  • Support better volunteer coordination w/ non RP partners (too many unreturned calls, underutilized volunteers / skills, poor placement of volunteers, etc.)
  • Getting involved is difficult for many, b/c the school day = work day
  • Parents more involved at younger ages b/c they must take child into daycare center (no bus pick up or drop off)
  • Suggest Reading w/ Realtors meld into Reading Partners’ program at Burns
  • RP makes it easier on schools and teachers
  • If a child is identified for academic intervention, we should also assess them for social / emotional / mental health needs as well

Other Comments

  • Need to have a way to give parents child development training
  • Worried about what will happen under Read To Succeed to 3rd grade students who are held back, given that research shows this is not healthy for them
  • Need to reach out to legislators to keep funding for Education (don’t let them raid Education Budget to pay for Roads)
    • Need mandatory 4K
  • Need to ensure that we can measure the bright spots so we know what is working, why, and how we can replicate (if at all)
  • Need a Training Academy for volunteers who want to assist schools with academic needs to ensure that they are able and are actually focusing on a true need of the school (for the high level volunteer, like a retired teacher, etc.)