We are seeking responses from individuals and/or firms to facilitate development of a comprehensive community-wide strategy designed to improve outcomes for children ages three to five. Please provide the following by Friday, July 17 if you would like to be considered:
- Description of the individual or firm, including biography of principal or team member(s) who will oversee the work. Individual respondents should include a resume.
- Statement of interest in facilitating this work, including a description of why you would be a good fit.
- High-level approach to meeting stated needs and evaluating progress.
- Capacity to meet stated needs.
- Description of similar work you have conducted, including facilitating strategy work in an online setting and experience with this content.
- Additional questions you have about the proposed work.
- Approach to budgeting for work outlined in this proposal.
Individual respondents may propose to contract with other agencies and resources.
Please submit your response to Mary Herbenick at MaryH@getreadyguilford.org. All responses will be reviewed, and selected respondents will be interviewed by GRGI staff. We hope to begin working with the selected consultant by mid- to late-August. Please direct any questions to Mary.
The Get Ready Guilford Initiative (GRGI), a joint endeavor of Ready for School, Ready for Life (Ready Ready) and The Duke Endowment (TDE) seeks county-wide changes in a range of early childhood outcomes and disparities spanning preconception to age eight.
GRGI has a bold mission of building a connected, innovative system of care for Guilford County’s youngest children and their families that improves outcomes, starting prenatally and continuing through third grade, while reducing persistent disparities.
To reach these ambitious goals, the collaborative is building a comprehensive early childhood system in which all young children and their families are: (1) assessed for child and family need at five key points (prenatally to age-three); (2) offered targeted high-quality interventions based on their goals and needs; and (3) provided ongoing support. GRGI has a staged roll-out by age group, beginning with preconception to age three, when brain development occurs most rapidly and interventions are most fragmented and the least organized. Please see Appendix A for information about the systemic issues we are working to solve in Guilford County.
We are beginning the planning process for strategies targeted to reach preschoolers (ages three to five) and their families. This includes the transition into kindergarten, which is a common challenge for children, families, teachers and school administrators.
In preparation, the following materials have been developed to support the planning process:
- A research paper conducted by Duke University researchers on the neurological development of
- children in this age group with the goal of understanding which areas of development have the highest
- potential for impact; A draft landscape analysis of programs serving children in this age group and their families within Guilford County; and
- Additional research about evidence-based programs1 that serve this population. The above documents are included with this RFP.
GRGI is seeking a seasoned consultant or consulting team to facilitate the development of a strategic plan that will guide the system-building work for ages three to five within Guilford. We anticipate that this engagement will be up to 12 months in length, depending on external factors such as the ability to meet in person versus
conducting online meetings, starting mid- to late-August 2020.
The selected consultant/team will possess the following:
- A proven track record in facilitating large cross-organizational, cross-sector groups to achieve desired outcomes
- Ability to collect, synthesize and use qualitative and quantitative data to guide group decision-making
- Ability to think systemically and manage complexity
- Experience developing strategies to address root causes of challenging systemic issues
- Ability to foster innovation, collaboration and a willingness to break through organizational silos
- Excellent written and oral communication skills
- Cultural humility and respect for family voice
- A passion for social change and commitment to equity
The selected consultant(s) will work with staff to shape each step of the engagement and will be supported by members of the Ready for School, Ready for Life staff – a strategic partner/project manager (.5 FTE) and administrative support (.2 FTE). In addition, members of The Duke Endowment team will serve as strategic partners throughout the process (.2 FTE) and also make resources available for research and analysis. Collectively, for purposes of this proposal, we will refer to these supports as GRGI staff.
Please note that two sets of evaluators support the initiative. We anticipate the selected consultant(s) will engage with the evaluators. A team from University of North Carolina’s School of Social Work/National Implementation Research Network (NIRN) is working with the team on a developmental evaluation, which includes the development of values and principles for the initiative. The second firm, MDRC, is working with the
initiative on the implementation and impact evaluations.
The goal is to develop strategies for ages three to five that:
ANTICIPATED PHASES OF WORK
- Drive measurably better and more equitable outcomes at the county level – e.g., changes in county-level rates and disparities in kindergarten readiness (Please see Appendix B for GRGI outcome areas.)
- Build upon existing strategic frameworks, including:
- GRGI’s values and principles (in development – final by August)
- Phase 1 strategy focused on pregnancy to age three (under initial implementation)
- Preconception strategy (in development – final in 2021Our theory of change (to be revised in fall 2020)
- ● Build upon existing state frameworks, including:
- NC Pathways to Grade-Level Reading
- NC DHHS Early Childhood Action Plan
- Can be brought to county-wide scale within a four-year period and within a specified budget (likely in multiple millions annually)
- Identify and address root causes of identified problems
- Be responsive to lessons from the referenced literature review on brain development and advisory boards convened by GRGI
- Build off strengths of the prenatal to age three system that is currently being implemented
The consultant/facilitator will lead the work with GRGI staff on the following phases of work.
1. PLANNING & DISCOVERY:
Learn about GRGI, goals for three to five work, the Guilford County landscape, and put what’s learned in service of data collection and theming phase.
- Participate in a three-hour kickoff meeting with staff and conduct interviews with key GRGI staff/partners.
- Review relevant materials to understand scope of the work, including existing qualitative and quantitative data and results of design processes for early literacy, early childhood workforce, continuous quality improvement, and navigation services.
- Develop facilitation guides and lead sessions to collect provider and family data as outlined in phase two.
- Co-develop and co-deliver introductory session about the design process (1-hour webinar) to community partners prior to selection of design team participants. (Timing TBD)
Facilitate one-hour weekly planning meetings with Ready Ready/TDE team to advance the 3 to 5 system building work for the course of the engagement.
2. DATA COLLECTION & THEMING:
- Written summary of Discovery phase that will serve as input to data collection
- Focus group facilitation guides for audiences outlined in phase two
- Presentation and speaker notes for the design process webinar
- Meeting summaries for weekly meetings
Gather additional data, lead theming process, and incorporate learnings into planning for the design phase.
- Conduct focus groups with key audiences. For scoping purposes, assume up to 20 one-hour meetings conducted online or in-person with the following groups:
- Front-line direct service providers. Hold virtual conversations at a variety of dates/times so those who work closely with preschoolers and families can provide input on what’s working/not working to support healthy development and on-track development, focused on system barriers.
- Kindergarten teachers. Invite kindergarten teachers to share their observations of what’s working/not working currently to get children ready for school.
- Families. Hold one-hour virtual or in-person meetings for families with children ages three to five to collect information about what’s working/not working to support healthy development of their preschoolers. Separate focus group(s) will be held for families with children who attended kindergarten during the 2019-20 school year.
- Develop and execute family survey. Develop a 10-question survey via app targeted to families of children ages three to five, and a secondary survey for families whose children have already attended kindergarten.
- Theme the data. Facilitate theming session(s) with staff, providers and parents of preschoolers to make sense of the data gathered to date. Themes will serve as key input to the design process.
3. DESIGN PROCESS:
- Verbatim transcripts from focus groups (to be completed in collaboration with administrative assistant)
- 10-question survey targeted to families of preschoolers to be delivered electronically.
- 10-question survey targeted to families of kindergarteners to be delivered electronically.
- Report with themed data from focus groups and interviews
- Recommendations for moving forward with an effective design process based on what is learned during data collection and theming
Lead a collaborative process to develop strategies that meet expected outcomes outlined in this RFP. (See Appendix C for details about the process and our commitment to it.)
- Guide design team selection. The team could include up to 30 core members from different organizations and perspectives to participate in an eight-month process. We would leverage tools from prior processes, e.g., continuous quality improvement cohort.
- Plan and facilitate (with GRGI staff support) series of design team meetings. Work with team to develop a comprehensive strategic plan for ages three to five in Guilford County, including the transition into kindergarten, which meet the objectives outlined on page three of this document.Sessions may be held in person, virtually, or a combination of both. GRGI staff will include administrative assistance for notetaking.
- Test emerging strategies. With GRGI staff and design team members, guide the testing of emerging strategies with a variety of stakeholders across Guilford County and bring feedback to the design team.
- Develop completed plan. Provide all documentation about the process and the “final” plan to the GRGI team and to design team members.
- Meeting materials (including prework, agendas, presentations, meeting notes) for each design meeting facilitated.
- Guidance for regular updates provided to key leaders and decision-making bodies (Ready Ready Board of Directors, GRGI Executive Committee, etc.)
- Documentation about the process
- Final plan for execution