What We Do

Great We Grow

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Preparing Our Youngest Children for Kindergarten & Life

Education starts at birth, with 90% or more of all brain development occurring before age 5. When children are ready for kindergarten and can read proficiently in third grade, they are more likely to graduate from high school, earn higher wages, stay out of the criminal justice system and live healthier lives. But today, less than half our children in Hillsborough County are not prepared for kindergarten.

About Great We Grow

Great We Grow is a strategic collaboration, funded and facilitated by the Conn Memorial Foundation, to reimagine how we support our youngest children from the moment they are born. We bring together families, preschools, elementary schools, out-of-school time providers and community partners to break down silos and improve children’s educational journey.

Great We Grow is a replicable partnership model that’s designed to bring positive outcomes to more communities. Today, we are funding partners in three areas to improve kindergarten readiness and transition:

  • Through the Tampa Preschool Partnership, partner schools work together to help families choose the best option for their child’s elementary school and ensure they’re ready when they start kindergarten.
  • Pilot projects in Town and Country and Southshore empower local schools to work together to develop better feeder patterns from preschool to elementary school and improve kindergarten readiness.

2020-21 Great We Grow Highlights

  • The ongoing effects of COVID-19 continued to present significant challenges to achieving program goals during the 2020-2021 school year. Despite the pandemic, Great We Grow launched in Southshore in fall 2020 with Kids R Kids and Corr Elementary.
  • Kindergarten students from partner schools continue to be more ready for kindergarten than the broader school population. 
  • In Town and Country, caregivers who participated in What You Do Matters through Champions for Children showed large increases in child development knowledge in 3 of 5 domains and significant increases in self-reported positive behavioral changes.
  • Enrollment and stay rates for students from partner preschools varied across locations due to COVID-19.
  • All preschools in the Tampa Preschool Partnership received a CLASS score above 4 during spring 2021 —reflecting significant growth from the previous year and exceeding program objectives. 

Explore Our Partners’ Impact

Meet our Great We Grow partners, see their strategies and outcomes, and find out what the results mean for future action.