Excel by Eight in Pulaski County
The E8 coalition in Little Rock is led by the City of Little Rock, with Jennifer Glasgow, Chief Education Officer, serving as chairperson. After surveying the community, the Little Rock steering committee has narrowed six priority areas to four initial projects: literacy, child food security, digital equity, and child care quality and availability. The leadership team and steering committee are building strategies for each priority area.
In March 2020, Little Rock participated in the Early Development Instrument assessment, which offered valuable data to set E8 priorities and strategies. 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.
Home to state government
Major industries are healthcare, aerospace, and banking and finance
Little Rock Central High was one of the first sites of integration following the Brown v. Board of Education ruling
Jennifer Glasgow, City of Little Rock
Sarah Argue, Pulaski County Imagination Library
Natalie Baber, Our House
Patty Barker, Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance
Dr. Jay Barth, William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum
Larry Clark, Life Skills for Youth
Ryan Davis, Children International
Lisa Donovan, Central Arkansas Library System
Kathy French, AR Kids Read
Tyra Greenwood, Arkansas Home Visiting Network
Arisbeth Johnson, Alas/Wings
Esther Jones, Little Rock School District – Early Childhood Education
David Kuchinski, Centers for Youth and Families
Tiffany Lepard, Foster Parent
Maddie Long, City of Little Rock
Desirae McBride, Our House
Jacqueline McEuen, Little Rock School District – School Health
Mike Ramirez, Hope Credit Union
Al Richardson, Life Skills for Youth
Rhonda Sanders, Arkansas Foodbank
Anna Strong, Arkansas Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics
Dr. Wendy Ward, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
LeCole White, HealthySteps
Read more about E8 Communities
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.
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.
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.