Third grade is a benchmark year for future academic success. A student not reading at grade level in third grade is 4 times more likely to drop out of high school. Proficiency in reading depends on the quality of their early learning experiences.
Learning builds on prior learning. If the foundation is weak, later achievements will falter. Study after study shows that investments in the early years have by far the greatest return particularly for disadvantaged children. Investments in high quality early childhood education produce returns up to $13 for every $1 invested.
United Way of Greater Knoxville, in partnership with the Tennesseans for Quality Early Education (TQEE) Bright Start TN Network, will advocate, coordinate, and convene stakeholders that support young children and their families to ensure children birth through age 8 thrive socially, emotionally, and academically in Knoxville-Knox County, TN.
Megan Barolet-Fogarty, Director of Youth and Family Engagement, Centro Hispano and Co-Chair TN Afterschool Network
Patty Bowlin, Program Coordinator, East TN CCR&R and University of TN
Denise Dean, Executive Director, East TN Freedom Schools
Dr. Hope Denny, Early Childhood Education Program Coordinator, Pellissippi State
Allison Douglas, Resource Center Manager, Harmony Family Center
Kara Finger, Executive Director, Wesley House and Co-Chair TN Afterschool Network
Mayor Glenn Jacobs, Knox County Government
Renee Kelly, Chief of Staff, Knox County Schools
Mayor Indya Kincannon, City of Knoxville
Dr. Beth Lackey, Supervisor of Voluntary Pre-K, Knox County Schools
Chris Letsos, CEO, Knox Education Foundation
Tracy Liebermann, President, Knoxville Association for Children’s Early Education (KACEE)
Lauren Longmire, Director of Regional Enhancement, Knoxville Chamber
Dave Miller, President of East Tennessee, First Horizon Bank
Lisa Rottman, General Manager of Marketing and Strategy, Stowers Machinery Corporation
Dr. Javiette Samuel, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Engagement and Director of Community Engagement and Outreach, UTK College of Child and Family Studies
Jennifer Searle, Special Program Manager, Office of City of Knoxville Mayor
Rhonda Smithson, Community Engagement Coordinator, Office of Knox County Mayor
Daniel Watson, Knox County Board of Education and Executive Director, Restoration House
Angela Webster, Executive Director Association of Infant Mental Health in Tennessee
If you would like to learn more or have us share a presentation on this critical work, please contact Ellie Kittrell, Director of Child Care and Early Education Systems at firstname.lastname@example.org or 865-386-9077.