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2016-2020 Strategic Plan 1

2016-2020 Strategic Plan 01 Vision & Mission 02 Strategy Map 04 Programs Family Engagement Early Childhood Education Quality Improvement Integrated Early Learning Models Advocacy & Public Policy

12 Support Communications Finance

16 Processes Information Technology Program Strategy & Organizational Learning

20 Resources Human Resources Facilities Fund Development

Our Vision All children in Greater Houston have the high-quality early learning opportunities they need to achieve their full potential.

Our Mission We meaningfully improve the quality of early childhood education and care for Greater Houston’s children through those who are most influential in their lives.



A greater proportion of child care programs in the 13-county region achieve high-quality status.

FAMILY ENGAGEMENT > Upgrade child care database to be a

more powerful tool for families and an example for statewide collaboration > Connect families to high-quality

EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION QUALITY IMPROVEMENT > Drive enrollment of child care programs

in Texas Rising Star and guide their Star Advancement

child care and information on child development and positive parenting

> Professionalize early childhood workforce by

> Establish targeted strategic

> Strengthen and develop professional

partnerships to reach more families

increasing credentialing opportunities development approaches

> Expand parent/caregiver education






COMMUNICATIONS > Raise awareness of Collaborative for Children and the importance of quality

early childhood education among key audiences

> Engage families and child care providers to meet our programmatic goals > Optimize website experience

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY > Right-size our Information Technology capabilities to meet the organization’s growing needs



> Assess organizational design and staffing

> Determine best office space solution to

> Implement proactive talent management

accommodate our growing staff

A greater proportion of students across our 13-county region are kindergarten-ready and prepared to succeed in school and in life.

INTEGRATED EARLY LEARNING MODELS > Replicate neighborhood-based approach to transform

early childhood in vulnerable communities with rigorous evaluation for model development

ADVOCACY & PUBLIC POLICY > Strengthen early childhood system

by developing a case for the necessary elements and true costs of quality

FINANCE > Leverage the capabilities of new accounting software, automate the processes of

analyzing “Budget to Actual� financial information, monitoring variances, trends and other indicators of financial health

PROGRAM STRATEGY & ORGANIZATIONAL LEARNING > Develop and implement continuous learning processes > Communicate and implement strategic plan to achieve cohesion among programs and activities

FUND DEVELOPMENT enable our work and

> Increase the rate to achieve our mission and strategic plan > Partner with individuals, corporations and foundations to secure critical funding



PROGRAMS Our approach is simple. We improve the quality of early learning where children are, in places they already go, through trusted caregivers, leaders and networks already in place.


FAMILY ENGAGEMENT Recognizing that parents are their child’s first teachers, we work to empower families to positively shape their young children’s futures by helping them to foster quality learning environments at home right from the start. We connect families to early learning opportunities by disseminating appropriate parenting practices, delivering community-based and center-based group parenting classes and coaching parents through home visitation and one-on-one consultations. We help parents/caregivers understand the importance of quality early learning, what quality is, and we help them find quality care for their children through our database of child care providers.

Strategic Initiative: Upgrade Child Care Resource & Referral Database Upgrade our child care database to be a more powerful tool for families and an example for statewide collaboration.



> Conduct RFP process for new vendor.

> Successfully launch revised child care database in late 2017.

> Work with new vendor to design and develop revised child care

> Participate in partnership and replication of our child care

database (front and back-end).

> Launch revised child care database in late 2017.

resource & referral database application with two other Texas regions by end of 2020.

> Communicate with Texas Workforce Commission and two other

Texas regions on the launch of our revised child care resource & referral database, and explore possible statewide replication.

Strategic Initiative: Connect Families Through Child Care Resource & Referral and Outreach Connect families to high-quality child care and information on child development and positive parenting through our child care resource & referral and outreach efforts.

KEY ACTIVITIES > Promote our child care database to both parents/caregivers and

providers through a variety of channels.

> Revamp family consultations to educate parents/caregivers

on key characteristics of quality care in short but substantive messages. > Ensure that all materials and messaging on quality child

care, child development and positive parenting are simple and accessible in multiple languages. > Conduct focus groups with young parents to provide input on

messaging and communication channels.


METRICS & MEASUREMENTS > Increase annual child care searches through our child care

resource & referral (including phone consultations and online searches) to 39,000 in 2020. > Record the number of parents/caregivers receiving information

about child development each year through the child care resource & referral call center. > Increase the number of parents/caregivers receiving information

about child development, positive parenting and early learning through outreach efforts to 9,900 in 2020.

Strategic Initiative: Establish Targeted Strategic Partnerships to Reach More Families KEY ACTIVITIES


> Establish one to two key partnerships with health providers

> Enter into formal arrangements with two strategic partners by

> Research existing approaches in other local programs, communities

> Develop written partnership model documenting roles and

serving large pediatric populations.

or hospital systems as well as nationwide.

> Design and pilot approach with key health partner.

end of 2018.

responsibilities, program components, materials and processes, and evaluation by end of 2020.

> Establish visible presence on partner websites.

Strategic Initiative: Expand Parent/Caregiver Education Opportunities KEY ACTIVITIES


> Expand free group parenting series for low-income families

> Increase number of parents and informal care providers receiving

> Continue implementation of Family-Centered Child Care

> Monitor average change in Life Skills Progression scores among

> Embed Vroom and/or other similar mobile parenting resource

> Achieve 50% retention rate for parents/caregivers in series-

of 0-5 year olds and continue to seek best interventions and evaluation approaches. practices and integrate with College Bound from Birth.

tools like ReadyRosie in group parenting series, home visiting and other touchpoints. > Implement Parents as Teachers for 180 families annually; expand

evidence-based home visiting for most at-risk when public funding is available.

parenting education through identified efforts each year to 1,600 in 2020. families served through home-visiting programs. based parenting education courses.

> Evaluate impact on parent practices as a result of parenting


> Assist partners with awareness campaign to remove stigma

associated with parenting class attendance.

> Support implementation of community survey of parents/

caregivers of young children to understand knowledge, current practices and home literacy environment, needs and barriers. > Develop measurement approach to assess impacts on parenting.


EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION QUALITY IMPROVEMENT In Greater Houston, 60% of children ages zero to five are cared for by someone other than a parent or primary caregiver. The quality of the child care and early education system in our region is critical to these children’s future success in school and in life. Our programs build highly-skilled early childhood educators to improve outcomes for children, including professional development for child care directors and teachers in the form of training, coaching and mentoring. We also manage Texas Rising Star (TRS), the state’s quality rating improvement system, and provide other on-site quality improvement interventions.

Strategic Initiative: Drive Enrollment in Texas Rising Star Drive enrollment of child care programs in TRS and guide their star advancement.

KEY ACTIVITIES > Create targeted marketing and recruitment efforts focused on

strategic partnerships, existing channels, accredited centers and Workforce Solutions vendors serving large numbers of children on subsidies. > Enhance web-based marketing, visibility and promotion of TRS


> Maintain pre-certification network that provides support and

onsite technical assistance to centers not yet eligible for TRS.

> Identify and target most likely candidates through our child care

database and Workforce Solutions database.

> Based on baseline assessment, provide tailored support (such as

side-by-side mentoring, curriculum planning, etc.) to improve star ratings.

> Provide tailored support (such as business management training,

leadership development, etc.) to center directors.

> Create targeted recognition efforts for new TRS providers,

TRS providers that increase their star rating, and other TRS participants.

> Examine current staffing structure and develop flexible staffing

plan for future growth.


METRICS & MEASUREMENTS > Increase number of TRS certified centers and homes to 471

by 2020.

> Assist 100 TRS providers in moving up at least one star level

by 2020.

Strategic Initiative: Professionalize Early Childhood Workforce Professionalize early childhood workforce by increasing credentialing opportunities.

KEY ACTIVITIES > Expand, market and promote scholarships and financial

incentives for completing credentials.

> Align and map Collaborative for Children community trainings to

Child Development Associate (CDA) credential competencies.

> Expand CDA class offerings through key partnerships and in-

house trainers.

METRICS & MEASUREMENTS > Increase percentage of early childhood teachers with a CDA. > Increase percentage of credentialed early childhood directors. > Increase percentage of professionals receiving Collaborative

for Children scholarships or services who attain a credential or education goal.

> Provide mentoring support to CDA candidates and directors.

Strategic Initiative: Professional Development Strengthen and develop professional development approaches.

KEY ACTIVITIES > Strengthen community-based trainings to fill gaps and align to

Texas Early Learning Council core competencies and national CDA requirements. > Expand our professional development opportunities to reach a

broader audience, considering online training and virtual coaching. > Develop and test cohort model for early childhood directors,

teachers and child care homes.

METRICS & MEASUREMENTS > Clearly demonstrate alignment of Collaborative for Children

professional development with Early Childhood Educator competencies, best practices and credentialing pathways by end of 2017. > Recommend structure, enhancement and expansion of Institute

for Early Learning by end of 2020.

> Report evidence and recommendations to support replication of

cohort models by end of 2020.


INTEGRATED EARLY LEARNING MODELS Our integrated early learning models involve a combination of program areas. Cohesive, coordinated approaches that bring family engagement, early childhood education quality improvement, and our advocacy and public policy initiatives together aim to transform early education and care across a community. Such efforts benefit not only the teachers, families and children immediately impacted but also the teachers, families and children participating in child care in the community in years to come. Our College Bound from Birth program, piloted in 2008 in the Sunnyside/South Park neighborhood, is one of our notable integrated early learning models which we will replicate across Houston neighborhoods.

Strategic Initiative: Replicate College Bound from Birth Replicate College Bound from Birth to transform early childhood in vulnerable communities with rigorous evaluation for model development.



> Generate funds to scale College Bound from Birth to additional

> Scale College Bound from Birth to reach 12 total neighborhoods

> Refine and evaluate family engagement and new components to

> Through replication, reach and additional 30 child care centers,

> Define program model.

> Replicate or exceed Sunnyside student achievement results in


determine efficacy and potential role in replication.

> Develop flexible staffing and recruitment model, including design

of a College Bound from Birth structure for growth.

> Identify strategic partners and neighborhood assets. > Strengthen and improve selection criteria and process for

participating child care centers.

> Implement three-year quality improvement program model in

each neighborhood.


by 2020.

160 classrooms, 8,300 families and 10,800 children. each neighborhood.

> Replicate or exceed center and classroom quality gains achieved

in Sunnyside.

ADVOCACY & PUBLIC POLICY In our policy work, we advocate for birth-to-five policies that narrow the early achievement gap. Together with partners in early childhood development and education, we make the case for early investments contributing to children’s lifelong success, informing lawmakers and community leaders of what has been proven to work in early education. In collaboration with other entities invested in the future of our region, we work to strengthen the quality standards for early learning in the state of Texas.

Strategic Initiative: Strengthen Early Childhood System Strengthen early childhood system by developing a case for the necessary elements and true costs of quality.

KEY ACTIVITIES > Estimate the gap between current tiered reimbursement rate

and the cost of operating at two, three or four stars in Texas Rising Star.

> Educate legislators on Texas Rising Star opportunities and

current challenges.

> Research and seek alternative funding models.

METRICS & MEASUREMENTS > Complete gap report by 2019 legislative session. > Educate at least 100 key public officials on Texas Rising Star

and other opportunities and challenges in Texas early childhood systems. > Cultivate four new, bipartisan state legislative champions by

2019 session.

> Identify and advance policy priorities in 2017 and 2019

legislative sessions.




SUPPORT Behind the scenes, our Communications and Finance operations provide direct support to our program departments by ensuring their activities are well promoted to appropriate audiences and that expenses are budgeted, paid and recorded responsibly. Marketing the agency to our stakeholders and the community at large is critical to our success, not only in building awareness leading to additional fundraising revenue but also in educating caregivers on the importance of quality early learning, which in turns increases the demand for highquality child care in Houston. Together, our Communications and Finance teams are essential to helping our programmatic efforts run efficiently and to assuring our funders that their investments are spent wisely and in accordance with their directives.


COMMUNICATIONS Our communications and marketing efforts are designed to advance the Collaborative for Children brand, our programs and the importance of quality early childhood learning across multiple channels. As outlined in a comprehensive communications plan, our primary communications objectives include increasing awareness of Collaborative for Children, engaging parents by connecting them to resources, tools and trainings, engaging child care directors and teachers in our numerous quality improvement offerings, and motivating policy makers and community leaders to support early learning.

Strategic Initiative: Raise Awareness Raise awareness of Collaborative for Children and the importance of quality early childhood education among key audiences.



> Create compelling content to encourage donors to give to

> Track response rates, click-through rates, open rates, website

> Launch fundraising and awareness campaign to reach new and

> Monitor and share media mentions.

Collaborative for Children and policy makers and community leaders to support quality early learning. broader audiences.

visits, form completions and other measures of communications messaging and channel effectiveness.

> Increase social media presence. > Achieve media coverage.

Strategic Initiative: Engage Families & Providers Engage families and child care providers to meet our programmatic goals.

KEY ACTIVITIES > Create and distribute targeted communications through a variety

of channels.

METRICS & MEASUREMENTS > Monitor effectiveness of messages and channels to influence

future communications strategies.

> Create and use consistent messaging and marketing strategies

to support programmatic initiatives and key activities.

Strategic Initiative: Optimize Website Experience KEY ACTIVITIES


> Revise online donation form.

> Launch revised donation form by April 2016.

> Revise news section.

> Launch revised news section by August 2016.

> Revise home page experience, content and functionality.

> Launch additional development to home page and video and

> Add or enhance video and image capabilities. > Regularly revise and refresh content.


image capabilities by end of 2016.

> Monitor and evaluate web trends on an ongoing basis.

FINANCE Our finance and accounting department is essential to smooth agency operations. With a growing staff and increasing programmatic activities, operational functions including payroll, payables, monthly reconciliations and financial reporting continue to grow as well. Managing a variety of donor funds and contract funds requires attention to detail and appropriate systems and processes in place to deliver timely, accurate reporting and budgeting. With appropriate finance and accounting support, our program staff can focus solely on excellence in service delivery of our quality improvement initiatives.

Strategic Initiative: Automate Processes of Analyzing “Budget to Actual” Leveraging the capabilities of new accounting software, automate the processes of analyzing “Budget to Actual” financial information, monitoring variances, trends and other indicators of financial health.

KEY ACTIVITIES > Develop staff skills to utilize new software capabilities and more

efficient processes.

METRICS & MEASUREMENTS > Begin “budget to actual” process by end of 2016.

> Leverage new software tools to enhance efficiency and capability

of “budget to actual” financial analysis and monitoring.

> Share real-time information with program and support staff.



PROCESSES The way we work is collaborative, evidence-based and efficient. To continue our mission of quality improvement, Collaborative for Children seeks to establish, maintain and continually evolve its processes to maximize efficiency and impact in our program areas. As we look to the future, we recognize the importance of strategic investment in the systems and processes that enable our work.


INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY In today’s ever-changing technology landscape, our Information Technology infrastructure must evolve to meet the needs of our growing staff and programs. We carefully consider the integrated workplace systems which allow staff to work efficiently and without interruption both on-site and remotely. Additionally, our information technology strategies must include forward-thinking approaches to adopt emerging technologies which may influence not only the way we conduct our business but also the ways in which early childhood education best practices are learned and delivered.

Strategic Initiative: Right-size our Information Technology Right-size our Information Technology capabilities to meet the organization’s growing needs.



> Conduct full IT assessment.

> Complete IT assessment by end of 2016.

> Structure IT department to manage needs and implement

> Implement integrated accounting and fund development

> Identify, purchase and implement integrated software.

> Implement integrated software by March 2018.


> Invest in training to maximize benefits of all systems.


software by end of 2016.

PROGRAM STRATEGY & ORGANIZATIONAL LEARNING With a priority on evidence-based, proven methodologies for improvement in the quality of early childhood learning programs, Collaborative for Children is committed to continuous learning as an organization. The process of continuous learning involves an ongoing cycle of planning, implementation, evaluation and revision. With a strategic, thoughtful and data-centered approach to our programs and activities, we will be well positioned for success in achieving our objectives.

Strategic Initiative: Communicate & Implement Strategic Plan Communicate and implement strategic plan to achieve cohesion among programs and activities.



> Complete strategic planning process with board and staff.

> Share strategic plan with key stakeholders by October 2016.

> Prioritize program activities and capacity-building needs in

> Implement redesigned dashboard by August 2016.

strategic plan.

> Validate activities against strategic plan. > Redesign dashboard to reflect priorities.

Strategic Initiative: Develop & Implement Continuous Learning Processes KEY ACTIVITIES > Implement action planning and quarterly review process to

monitor implementation and apply learning.

METRICS & MEASUREMENTS > Develop continuous learning process by end of 2016.

> Develop learning processes and systems of reporting and

reflecting for ongoing, data-driven decision making.

> Communicate and link key activities to staff and stakeholders.



RESOURCES People, work space and funds are the foundation of our ability to affect change for the children of Greater Houston. Collaborative for Children’s Human Resources, Facilities and Fund Development functions are essential to building the processes, support systems and programs which will allow us to achieve our 10-year aim. With these most fundamental resources in place, we can build and deliver the organizational and programmatic initiatives that drive our work.


HUMAN RESOURCES Collaborative for Children’s employees are passionate about early education. These highly qualified and extremely talented employees are essential in delivering our programmatic and support functions to impact our ultimate vision, and we are committed to offering them financial security and professional development. As our organization continues to grow to meet new opportunities and new demands, we also prioritize our human resources infrastructure by creating succession planning and organizational design that will carry the agency into the future.

Strategic Initiative: Assess Organizational Design & Staffing KEY ACTIVITIES


> Assess all existing jobs including functions, scope and overlaps.

> Complete staffing assessment by October 2016.

> Identify missing roles.

> Develop scalable staffing model by end of 2016.

> Develop “scalable” staffing model and structure for expansion of

program delivery.

Strategic Initiative: Implement Proactive Talent Management KEY ACTIVITIES


> Update succession planning process to drive specific training and

> Update succession planning process by November 2016 and

> Address needs and appropriate changes to the compensation

> Review compensation system and reward components by


structure and programs.

> Design a scalable model to provide pipeline of candidates for



review annually. April 2017.

FACILITIES To help employees work efficiently, Collaborative for Children carefully considers its office space options, seeking affordable facilities that offer adequate work space in a convenient location. Recognizing technological advances and the growth of telecommuting, we will continue to investigate facilities and work space arrangements that are conducive to effective work, the right fit for our budget and capable of meeting the demands of our current and future workforce.

Strategic Initiative: Determine Best Office Space Solution Determine best office space solution to enable our work and accommodate our growing staff.

KEY ACTIVITIES > Create taskforce to assess space options given timing of our

five-year lease opt-out.

METRICS & MEASUREMENTS > Present options to Board for vote by end of 2016.

> Explore leases vs. ownership and key questions about space

needs supporting our strategic goals.

> Present recommended option(s) to Board for vote.

FUND DEVELOPMENT Our programmatic and operational initiatives are made possible by critical funding from a variety of sources, including state and nonprofit contracts, and philanthropic gifts from private, corporate and foundation donors. Just as we evolve our programs and operations to meet changing needs in a changing landscape, we also continue to advance our fund development efforts to expand our donor base and utilize new tools and strategies to reach new audiences.

Strategic Initiative: Increase the Rate at which we Achieve our Strategic Goals & Mission KEY ACTIVITIES


> Implement major gift strategy.

> Performance towards total annual fundraising goals.

> Work with program staff to set development goals

> Performance towards five-year strategic plan fundraising goals.

> Continue donor cultivation.

> Annual review/analysis of cost to raise a dollar.

> Build board capacity to raise funds.

> Alignment of organizational Fund Development resources

for strategic priorities.

> Evaluate and select enhanced tools to manage donor

towards most efficient high returns.

information and relationships.


When You Give a Child a Chance Developed through a diligent process with thoughtful input from the Collaborative for Children staff, board of directors and a variety of stakeholders, our strategic initiatives for 2016-2020 were selected to significantly advance the organization in its mission over the next five years. These initiatives and the key activities associated with each will focus the agency’s work to meaningfully improve the quality of early education in the Greater Houston area. When you invest in Collaborative for Children, our programs, our infrastructure or our operations, you’re really investing in Houston’s future. Our future. When you invest in Collaborative for Children, you’re giving Houston children a chance. And when you give a child a chance, she can build Houston’s future. Fuel a new economy. Find a career that clicks. Write a new chapter in Houston’s history. Won’t you help us give even more Houston children a chance? With your support, the dreams for their future can become reality.

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1111 North Loop West, Suite 600 Houston, 26 Texas 77008 collabforchildren.org

Profile for Collaborative for Children

2016-2020 Strategic Plan  

2016-2020 Strategic Plan of Collaborative for Children

2016-2020 Strategic Plan  

2016-2020 Strategic Plan of Collaborative for Children