Excel by Eight in Jefferson County
Jefferson County, E8’s newest member community, is led by Cathi Swan at the Arkansas River Education Service Cooperative. The steering committee has been formalized and includes representatives from K-12 education, health, home visiting, business, philanthropy, and higher education.
In 2023, the local steering committee will launch the research phase of the E8 process, gathering community input on priority areas by hosting data walk events and talking with parents, educators, service providers, and other stakeholders who work on behalf of families with children ages 0-8.
Data walks are gallery-style presentations of statistics related to boxes on the E8 resource grid. Excel by Eight presents initial data to participants and asks them to react. This helps us better understand where children are excelling and where we may need to shore up local resources.
East-central Arkansas, bisected by the Arkansas River
University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and Southeast Arkansas College
Leading producer of cotton, soybeans, rice, poultry, and timber
Trade, entertainment, recreation, and health care center for Southeast Arkansas
Cathi Swan, Chair, Arkansas River Education Service Cooperative
Peter Austin, Jefferson Regional Medical Center
Jennifer Barbaree, Pine Bluff School District
Dr. Steven Bloomberg, Southeast Arkansas College
Dr. Kimberly Davis, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff
Jason Duren, United Way of Southeast Arkansas
Sherri James, Southeast Arkansas Behavioral Healthcare System
Angela Lopez, Arkansas Department of Human Services
Dr. Sarper Turker, Arkansas Lighthouse Charter Schools
Chad Pitillo, Simmons Bank
Allison Thompson, Jefferson County Alliance
Dr. Gary Williams, White Hall School District
Tom Wilson, Watson Chapel School District
Read more about E8 Communities
Independence County: Building Brains in Preschoolers One Conversation at a Time
Preschools in Independence County have adopted innovative technology to support early brain development. LENA – short for Language ENvironment Analysis – is a professional development opportunity for early childhood educators that uses cloud-based software and a small, wearable device – often referred to as a “talk pedometer” – to measure and increase conversational turns that happen between a child and an adult caregiver.
Independence County hosts Excel by Eight fall 2022 Learning Community
For the first time, Excel by Eight hosted its semiannual Learning Community outside of Arkansas’s capital city, bringing more than 30 community leaders to Independence County in mid-October for local site visits and informative sessions. The two-day event took place in the cities of Batesville and Southside and focused on early care and education for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers.
Jill Wilson, executive director of two child care centers in Mountain Home, and Garrett Dolan, senior manager of corporate social responsibility at Tyson Foods, served on a panel moderated by Roby Brock, editor-in-chief and host of Talk Business and Politics. The panelists discussed the challenges facing employers and child care providers in Arkansas, including quality of care, workforce, and affordability.
Building a Bridge to Kindergarten Readiness Through Parks and Public Spaces
A subcommittee based in the town of Horatio, Arkansas, in Sevier County has worked to raise funds to improve area parks and recreation spaces – as well as local businesses – with a focus on early childhood development.