Excel by Eight in Independence County
Independence County is one of the inaugural community partners for Excel by Eight. Led by the Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce, E8 joins other education-related initiatives in the area and incorporates goals that are inclusive of ages birth to eight as a foundation for improving outcomes for the whole child.
During an initial research phase, the community’s steering committee reached more than 200 people through a Data Walk project— raising awareness about E8 and gathering critical feedback about priorities across the resource grid. Community members and education and health sector representatives alike agreed on the top priorities for their county, which include: food security, substance use prevention, poverty alleviation, child care availability and kindergarten readiness.
The steering committee also used data from the Early Development Instrument (EDI) when setting priorities. The EDI is a population measure of how young children are developing based on the five domains of early childhood development: physical health and wellbeing; social competence; emotional maturity; language and cognitive skills; and communication skills and general knowledge. Kindergarten teachers in school district completed the assessment for their students. Kindergarten teachers in all school districts in the county completed the assessment for their students.
North-central region of Arkansas, adjacent to the White River
Specialties in agriculture, healthcare, banking and retail
Implemented first community school model in the state
Jennifer Douglas, Batesville School District
Amy Finster, White River Health System
Jessica Gilmer, Midland Preschool
Mary-Katherine Hardin, STARS Academy
Novella Humphrey, Southside School District
Kristie Jenkins, ARCare
Crystal Johnson, Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce
Abbi Limbaugh, Cedar Ridge School District
Whitney Massey, Baker Family Dentistry
Lisa Mcghee, Southside Schools
Bani Meharg, Midland Elementary
Dr. Lesley Milton, Tooth Be Told Pediatric Dentistry
Debbie Mize, Child Care Aware
Kimberly Poole, Southside School District
Jamie Rayford, Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce
Dr. Julia Roulier, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Michelle Puckett, Batesville Preschool
Mindy Shaw, University of Arkansas Community College – Batesville
Brooke Stevenson, Parent
Dr. Nikki Yonts, Lyon College
Read more about E8 Communities
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