Volunteer to reach children and families during Kindergarten Registration Week

by Administrator 17. March 2015 13:06

In our ongoing effort to ensure that children in Durham County are prepared for success in school, the Partnership and Durham Public Schools are co-hosting Durham's first ever Kindergarten Registration Week during the Week of the Young Child, April 12th-18th. Our goal for this week is to encourage early enrollment and participation in Transition to Kindergarten activities. We know that attendance on the first day has a huge impact on a child's entire educational career, and early enrollment allows school and teachers to prepare for their incoming class so that they can best meet each student's needs. Ultimately, we hope to increase the number of children registered and in school on the first day of kindergarten in 2015!

During Kindergarten Registration Week, we are distributing registration packets to provide parents with all of the information and forms they need to ease the process of registering for school. We've taken a multi-pronged approach to reach as many rising kindergartners in the community as possible. In addition to distributing packets to rising kindergartners in DPS classrooms and child care centers, we are also partnering with some wonderful local businesses in order to meet families out in the community.

Volunteers will be stationed at these businesses throughout Durham all week to distribute registration packets to parents of young children. We are in need of a large number of volunteers, so we hope you'll join in the fun and take part in the important work of preparing children for school.

With your help, we hope to reach thousands of rising kindergartners and their parents and make this inaugural event a huge success! 

Please click on this link to sign up to volunteer. Thank you for your help and your commitment to young children in Durham!

Windsor Circle volunteers commit to early childhood education

by Administrator 13. March 2015 09:51

This week, we had the pleasure of hosting a group of hard-working volunteers from Windsor Circle for their company Team Day. The fun group of 20 volunteers brought enthusiasm, energy and efficiency to the day’s projects, and our office was buzzing with excitement all morning!

In just a few short hours, the team built 400 Blast Off to Kindergarten Kits! These kits provide school readiness materials to rising kindergartners in Durham and are a key part of our Transition to Kindergarten (TTK) Initiative. The kits that Windsor Circle built will be distributed to Glenn Elementary School, one of our Transition Team schools, as well as to NC Pre-K students at 12 child care centers. 


In addition to the kits, the volunteers stuffed, sealed and stamped several hundred invitations to our 20th Anniversary Celebration and helped prepare yard signs that will be placed throughout Durham to promote upcoming TTK events. When they were finished, they helped us organize and clean up all of the materials, including loading our cars with the completed Blast Off Kits so we could deliver them right away. There was no task too small or too hard for this group!

Windsor Circle is focused on working in the area of early childhood education and forming long-term partnerships with organizations in Durham, both through their quarterly volunteer Team Days and by offering their professional insight and expertise. The volunteers asked questions throughout the morning to learn more about our work and early childhood issues, and it was clear that they were invested in the cause, not just the activities at hand. Their commitment to giving back to the community is inspiring, and we could not be more thrilled that they’ve come to see early childhood as the area where they can make the most impact.  


We look forward to working even more deeply with Windsor Circle and being part of another fun Team Day again soon! 

Volunteer to help children Blast Off to Kindergarten!

by Administrator 19. February 2015 16:34

In our ongoing effort to ensure that children in Durham County are prepared for success in school, Durham's Partnership for Children, in collaboration with Durham Public Schools, is hosting a series of events this spring and summer as part of the Transition to Kindergarten Initiative

Transition Teams have been created this year in 5 elementary schools: E.K. Powe Elementary, Forest View Elementary, Glenn Elementary, Lakewood Elementary and Y.E. Smith Elementary. The transition teams are comprised of teachers, parents and school administrators, all with the common goal of wanting to make kindergarten an exciting and welcoming place for new students and families in their community.

Children who will be entering Kindergarten in August will attend the events with their families. Participants will learn how to register for kindergarten, meet the school staff, tour the school, and meet future classmates.


We are in need of volunteers to help at these events, and we know you'll have a great time meeting the children and families and helping them make a smooth transition during this important time! Please click here to view the volunteer opportunities for the Blast Off to Kindergarten Events, and be on the lookout for more opportunities over the next few months.

You can view a list of all of the upcoming Transition to Kindergarten events here. Please contact Wren Davisson (wren@dpfc.net, 919.403.6960 ext. 224) if you'd like to learn more about our Transition to Kindergarten Initiative. 

Welcome to Kindergarten information sessions

by Administrator 15. January 2015 11:17

Durham Public Schools is hosting two Welcome to Kindergarten nights for families with rising kindergarteners on Thursday, Jan. 15th and Thursday, Jan. 22nd from 6-7:30 pm at the DPS Staff Development Center (2107 Hillandale Road). These information sessions offer parents a chance to learn everything they need to know about entering kindergarten in Durham Public Schools, including what options are available, how to register, and how to get ready for school! Parents will hear from school staff, teachers, and the Partnership's Transition to Kindergarten program coordinator and will rotate through sessions on several different topics:

  • School Nurse & Child Nutrition
  • Transportation
  • Before/After School
  • Magnet Schools
  • Registering for Kindergarten
  • Typical Kindergarten Day & Literacy/Math Activities
  • Transition to Kindergarten

Accepting Transition to Kindergarten Mini Grant Applications

by Administrator 13. January 2015 11:42

The Partnership is once again offering mini grants for transition activities for families with rising kindergarteners as part of its Transition to Kindergarten (TTK) Initiative. The mini grants are intended to support early educators, elementary schools and child care sites in planning and implementing collaborative transition events. 

Mini-grants will be awarded to applicants who design transition to kindergarten events addressing the 4 key connections that support a smooth transition to kindergarten:

  • Child-school connections
  • Family-school connections
  • School-school connections
  • Child-child connections

Kindergarten teachers, child care teachers and directors, school principals, before and after school programs, PTAs, and/or other organizations that serve rising kindergarteners are all eligible to apply. Mini grant award amounts may vary based on events and activities proposed, and have typically ranged from $200-400 in previous years. Last year’s mini grants included activities such as summer transition camps, student portfolios, field trips to kindergarten classrooms, and kindergarten parent nights. More than 500 families participated at 16 different child care centers and schools throughout Durham.

Please click here to download the application and full instructions. Applications must be received by Wednesday March 4th, 2015. 

The TTK Initiative is a collaborative project of the Durham's Partnership for Children and Durham Public Schools that prepares children, families and schools for a successful entrance into kindergarten from formal pre-school programs or home settings. This initiative is sponsored in part by the Morgan Creek Foundation and Wells Fargo. Please contact Wren Davisson at wren@dpfc.net or 919.403.6960 ext. 224 for more information, or visit www.durhamgoestokindergarten.com.

The Partnership wins 2014 GSK IMPACT Award!

by Administrator 18. November 2014 16:13

We are thrilled to announce that we are a recipient of the 2014 GSK IMPACT Award! We are one of just nine Triangle non-profits to be awarded this incredible honor and will receive $40,000 in recognition of our achievements in building a healthier community. 

We were honored for our Innovative, Measured, Partnered, Accountable, Collaborative, and Transformative work, particularly highlighted through our Transition to Kindergarten Initiative, the Durham Touchpoints Collaborative and Durham Early Head Start.

Much of what influences our health happens outside the doctor’s office – in our communities. Community factors such as safety, access to healthy foods and recreational spaces, and the support of families and social networks undeniably contribute to our health. The GSK IMPACT Awards recognize nonprofit organizations with sustainable programs that address these critical community factors.

“Today’s winners show us what it means and what it takes to build a healthier Triangle region,” said Katie Loovis, Director, US Community Partnerships and Stakeholder Engagement, GSK.

In the Research Triangle Park region, the GSK IMPACT Awards are presented in partnership with Triangle Community Foundation. “We are so proud to be able to support these vital nonprofits in our community,” said Lori O’Keefe, President & CEO, Triangle Community Foundation. “We are confident that the GSK IMPACT Awards will strengthen their work, and benefit our entire community for years to come.”

To view the full list of winners and read the full press release from GSK, please click here.

Durham Public Schools Magnet School Fair this Saturday

by Administrator 5. November 2014 15:21

Durham Public Schools will hold a Magnet School Fair this Saturday, Nov. 8th from 10am – 1pm at the Southern School of Energy and Sustainability (800 Clayton Road).

The fair gives elementary, middle and high school students and parents an opportunity to talk with school staff and explore magnet theme offerings at Durham Public Schools. There are 10 elementary magnet school options. Each school has either a specialized program, nontraditional instructional method, or operates on a year-round calendar. These are great options for students, including rising kindergarteners, and this is a wonderful opportunity to learn more!

Registering for magnet schools is a very different process than other school registration. All applications must be submitted online during the magnet application window, which is January 12-30, 2015. The application will become available online at 12am on January 12th. 

Click here for more information and a flyer you can share to help spread the word!

Kick Off to Kindergarten at Lakewood Elementary

by Administrator 26. August 2014 15:51

Imagine you’re 5 years old and on your way to your first day of kindergarten. Maybe you’re feeling excited about starting school, or maybe you’re feeling a little nervous about what the day is going to be like, and feeling shy and scared, and worrying about making friends. Now imagine that you arrive at school with your parents and see a crowd of people cheering for you, welcoming you to your new school and inviting you to join in the fun and blow bubbles, take pictures, and meet your classmates.


That is exactly what happened this morning at Lakewood Elementary when a crowd of smiling people cheered on parents and children arriving for their first day of school as part of the Transition to Kindergarten (TTK) Initiative! Volunteers from the Partnership, Durham Public Schools, Duke’s Office of Durham & Regional Affairs, and Duke University Retiree Outreach gathered in front of Lakewood Elementary to make sure that every child starting kindergarten today had a fun and welcoming experience on their first day of school.


We watched child after child go from clutching their parents’ hands to grinning and high-fiving volunteers. After arriving to a chorus of “welcome to kindergarten,” and “we’re so happy you’re here,” one mother asked her daughter if she was still nervous. She received an enthusiastic “no!” and it was abundantly clear to everyone just how much impact the TTK Initiative can have for these young learners. 


We will be welcoming children to school at Forest View Elementary this Friday, and it is our hope that even more children and families in Durham will have this experience when starting kindergarten next year! For more information about the TTK Initiative and to find out how you can be involved, please visit www.durhamgoestokindergarten.com or contact Wren Davisson (wren@dpfc.net, 919-403-6960 ext. 224).

Rising Kindergartners enjoy Popsicles on the Playground

by Administrator 21. August 2014 12:49

It's hard to believe that the first day of school is almost here! It's been a busy month for the Transition to Kindergarten Initiative as staff, transition teams and volunteers have been working hard to make sure children in Durham are ready for school. A variety of transition events have taken place throughout Durham, and last week, we collaborated with our friends at East Durham Children's Initiative for a Popsicles on the Playground event for rising kindergartners at Y.E. Smith Elementary.

Children enjoyed frozen treats on a summer day while playing with some of their future classmates, and parents had a chance to meet other families with rising kindergartners and to receive information and resources. 


At Y.E. Smith Elementary, 33 rising kindergartners have attended at least one of the transition events held throughout the spring and summer. Including our other Transition Team schools – E.K. Powe, Forest View and Lakewood Elementary – we’ve reached up to 48% of the rising kindergarten class at each school, and through our TTK Mini Grants, an estimated 500 additional families participated in transition activities at 16 child care centers and schools. Best of all, 100% of families surveyed at events said that they felt more confident about ways to prepare their child for kindergarten!

Next week, several schools will hold Kick Off to Kindergarten events where we'll be cheering on new students and parents as they arrive for their first day of school. There will be plenty of excitement, smiles and tears (from both children and parents!), so please consider joining the fun and volunteering to help children get excited about the year ahead and feel welcome in their new school! 

School Readiness Summit stresses importance of preparing children for success in school and life

by Administrator 31. July 2014 15:20

On July 21, 2014, Durham’s Partnership for Children and Durham Public Schools presented the School Readiness Summit: Awareness, Advocacy and Action, sponsored in part by PNC BankNearly 150 community members – from school teachers and administrators, to elected officials, to business leaders, to volunteers – came together to learn more about the importance of a child’s transition to kindergarten and the collaborative effort of preparing children for success in school.

At the Summit, with the help of featured guest Ken Smythe-Leistico, a national consultant and expert on transition to kindergarten from the University of Pittsburgh, attendees learned how to blend strategies that tie parent engagement, child development, welcoming schools, and community support into a successful transition for all children in our city.

The Summit began with a presentation about why transition is so important, in which he explained how entering kindergarten sets the tone for a child’s educational experience for many years to come and lays the foundation for future success in school. He then asked the audience to dig deeper by examining community partnerships and sharing examples and stories from the incredibly successful Ready Freddy: Pathways to Kindergarten Success program that he developed at the University of Pittsburgh. The event wrapped up with action planning at each table, forming relationships and sparking ideas about transition strategies that can be implemented in our city.

If you weren’t able to attend the Summit, the presentations and a full video recording are available here.

During the Summit, many people asked about what is already happening here in Durham – and because of the work of the Transition to Kindergarten Initiative (TTK), we can happily report that it’s a lot! TTK is a collaborative effort between the Partnership and DPS. Sponsored in part by the Morgan Creek Foundation and Wells Fargo, the initiative helps prepare children, families and schools for a successful entrance into kindergarten from formal pre-school programs or home settings.

This past year has seen the implementation of Transition Teams at four DPS schools; distribution of Blast Off to Kindergarten Kits with school readiness resources through agencies across Durham; mini-grants awarded to 16 child care centers and public schools to support transition events;  the development of a Transition to Kindergarten mascot – Ready Eddy – and a website for information and resources; and teacher and community workshops, such as the Summit!

We have seen huge success from the targeted, community-based activities of the TTK Initiative this year, and we know that this work is making an impact. Transition Team events in our four pilot schools reached up to 48% of the incoming kindergarten class at each school, and 100% of families surveyed at events said that they felt more confident about ways to prepare their child for kindergarten.

But we still have a lot of work ahead of us. School readiness is everybody’s business, and we need your help in carrying out the critical effort of making sure our children are ready for school!

For more information about the TTK Initiative and to find out how you can get involved, please visit the TTK website and contact the Partnership’s TTK Program Coordinator Wren Davisson at wren@dpfc.net or 919-403-6960 ext. 224.

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