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Fight Night 2014
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Ensuring School Readiness

While most DC children have access to preschool, the quality of programs varies dramatically and the majority of children enter kindergarten lacking the skills they need to learn. In 2012, we announced a $10 million investment in early childhood programs and launched Joe’s Champs, the centerpiece of our Ready to Learn DC initiative. Joe’s Champs is named in honor of our founder Joseph. E. Robert, Jr. and aims to dramatically improve the quality of instruction in high-need neighborhoods.



THE PROBLEM:

By age 6, low-income children are likely to hear 32 million fewer words than their higher income peers, creating an achievement gap before they even enter first grade. While most DC children have access to preschool, the quality of programs varies dramatically and the majority of children enter kindergarten lacking the skills they need to learn. Research from Noble-prize winning economist James Heckman makes clear the tremendous value in investing in programs serving very young children.



FIGHT FOR CHILDREN’S SOLUTION:

Our newest program, Joe’s Champs, helps administrators and teachers apply new knowledge and skills so that their youngest students are better prepared to succeed in kindergarten and beyond. School communities equipped with this knowledge will be able to thoughtfully plan for a child’s transition from pre-K to kindergarten, align the early childhood curriculum with the school’s overall philosophy, recognize the contributions to the school from teachers of 3-4 year olds, and learn how early childhood assessments are relevant to long-term academic success.

 
 


"Our school has a great philosophy and a framework for success. Joe’s Champs is helping us pull the good things we already have together, think about a child’s time here as a continuous journey, and commit the time and effort we need to improve the areas that need to be strengthened.

What’s different about this program is that it’s not a one-time shot—it really makes us commit to building success that will endure."

— Jonah Davenport,
Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Freedom Public Charter School



Effective Leadership – School leaders attend six professional development sessions throughout the school year, where they follow a unique curriculum with a goal of sharing ideas and learning how to best engage with their early childhood students and teachers. School leaders are also matched with experts in the early childhood field who serve as mentors for the next three years.

Successful Schools – Teachers, school leaders, and their expert mentors work together to study a particular topic each of the three years that aligns with the school’s broader curriculum. Teachers and school leaders are also encouraged to attend workshops, conferences, and site visits to schools that exhibit successful elements of early childhood education. This collaboration helps both teachers and school leaders understand the value of pre-K classrooms and how those students integrate into the broader school community.

Strong Teaching Staff – Through Joe’s Champs, Fight For Children has developed partnerships with three teacher training programs—Capital Teaching Residency, Center for Inspired Teaching, and Urban Teacher Center—to match instructors to vacancies in participating Joe’s Champs schools.

Seven schools participated in the pilot year of Joe’s Champs—DC Bilingual Public Charter School, E.W. Stokes Public Charter School, Friendship Southeast Elementary Public Charter School, Friendship Chamberlain Public Charter School, Ingenuity Prep Public Charter School, Potomac Lighthouse Public Charter School, and Powell Elementary School. Several additional schools will join the program for the 2014-2015 school year.


If you think your school may be a good candidate for participation in Joe’s Champs or if you're interested in helping to provide financial support for this program, let us know and we will get you more information. You can contact us by emailing
our program assistant Anna Faryar at anna.faryar@fightforchildren.org
or our development director Ellett George at ellett.george@fightforchildren.org.

You may also call us at 202-772-0400.

 

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Fight For Children is an independent non-profit organization that serves low-income kids by promoting quality education and keeping kids healthy. We also produce Fight Night.