During a presentation by Laura Alderman, Step Forward Executive Director, the Shreveport City Council was invited to sign a resolution supporting early childhood education at the December 19th council meeting. The resolution was created during the Northwest Louisiana Early Childhood Policy Summit. The first event of its kind in Northwest Louisiana, over 60 participants including elected officials and community leaders gathered for three days learned the importance of early childhood education, where Northwest Louisiana stands in Kindergarten Readiness and drafted goals to directly improve Kindergarten Readiness in Northwest Louisiana.
Two strategies were agreed upon during the conference:
Strategy 1: To create & disseminate a consistent community message for early brain development and implications on society at large.
Strategy 2: Identify, link together, improve, and expand all systems to strengthen families and promote quality and affordable childcare and kindergarten readiness.
The participants initially signed their resolution at a press conference and announced that over $100,000 was committed by Shreveport and Bossier businesses for School Readiness Tax Credits as a first step towards achieving their strategies. Kristina Gustavson has since announced that nearly $150,000 has been raised.
“The greatest investment a community can mae in its future is in the early development of their children,” said Councilmember LeVette Fuller. “The Early Childhood Policy Summit provided an impactful opportunity to expand the capacity of our community’s stakeholders on behalf of our greatest resource.”
Mayor Adrian Perkins stated “This resolution shows our area’s commitment to early childhood education, and the $100,000 in school readiness tax credits from Shreveport-Bossier businesses demonstrates our resolve.”
Hosted by Step Forward and the Community Foundation of North Louisiana, the summit took place over three days. The Northwest Louisiana Early Childhood Policy Summit was sponsored by The Community Foundation of North Louisiana, Aetna Better Health of Louisiana, The Capital One, the Grayson Foundation, and the Northwestern State University Child and Family Network.