School Readiness Needs Assessment

Background Information:

The Funders Forum of Lancaster County is a collaborative of foundations and grant makers in Lancaster County, PA.  The Funders Forum formed as a means of allowing foundations and grant making organizations throughout Lancaster County to share funding strategies and approaches, and best practices and priorities as organizations worked to enhance, improve and sustain life for the residents of the County.  Traditionally the Funders Forum partners have funded individual priorities established by each organization independent of the collective’s discussions.

In 2013, the Funders Forum began discussing the possibility of combining efforts in hopes of collectively working to address an issue impacting the well-being of Lancaster County.  After much discussion among members and consultations with experts and organizations in the community, the Funders Forum identified readiness of children to enroll in Kindergarten as high priority which all members could support as an issuing having significant immediate and long-term impact upon the success of the County.

Request for Proposal (RFP):

In fall 2014, select members of the Funders Forum released a RFP seeking a consultant /consultants to complete a needs assessment identifying resources and barriers to kindergarten readiness among all children residing in the County. The goal was to identify future funding strategies, particularly innovative solutions, to improve school readiness.

In a collaborative partnership, United Way of Lancaster County, Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit 13, and Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children were awarded the opportunity to organize and execute this project.

The following sections represent the tasks and deliverables which, while essential school-readiness needs assessment components, provide interesting and important information for our community.  It is the our hope that you will find the following information useful, enlightening, and thought-provocative as we look for viable solutions to improve school-readiness in Lancaster County.

TASK 1:

Identify strategies and resources currently utilized and available/accessible to prepare children (both within child care centers and outside the context of child care centers) for kindergarten enrollment within Lancaster County.

TASK 2:

Identify barriers to school readiness and determine opportunities for future innovative pilot programs

TASK 3:

Determine Best Practice Models utilized within Lancaster County and other regions across the commonwealth, the country, and internationally, which may be employed, implemented or modified to improve kindergarten readiness throughout Lancaster County.