Susan Barbeau comes to First 5 FUNdamentals with a deep passion for early learning. As Executive Director, she provides direction and leadership in advancing the organization’s mission and strategically achieving its goals. She holds a Master degree in Public and Non-Profit Administration from the Evergreen State College. When not at work, Susan practices her parenting skills at home with her two year old son.
Thanks Brittany for the feedback. I appreciate your question. We see collective impact as a great way to organize, but also recognize it's limitation for longterm system change. For example, we do not have a big audacious time sensitive goal (e.g. increase graduation rates by 2020, decrease low birth rates by 2025, etc.). Our vision is much broader "that all children thrive in nurturing relationships and environments". We see Project Child Success as a call for community transformation, which is slightly different then a group of people working together achieve a measurable data/set goal.
We also have a dedicated organization and staff, who's role is to help facilitate this community change. Many times collective impact initiatives rely heavily on partner organizations to cary out daily tasks. An independent staff allows us to have a system level view, to see things from the 20,000 foot level, and then engage partners in conversation and brainstorming on solutions.
For example, we have recently been hearing increased frustrations about student behavior from both elementary school teachers and child care providers. The behavior is leading to an increase number of expulsions. So, we hosted a cross sector training for childcare providers and kindergarten teachers on trauma informed care. The training explained the brain science behind the behavior and offered hands on solutions. It also helped build relationships between childcare providers and Kindergarten teachers in their local neighborhoods.
Concurrently, we've also working with policy makers at the state to incorporate trauma informed perspectives into the re-writing of their childcare laws. We are asking questions like, should a 3 year old be allowed to be expelled from preschool? What long term impact does that have on the child/family? What's the impact for the childcare provider? What other options might there be?
First 5 FUNdamentals is in a unique roll, to be a bridge to all the sectors: childcare, K-12 educators, and state-law makers. We believe this type of system thinking is what will lead to change over time.