2017 Oklahoma Early Childhood Coalition Business Summit

This year’s conference highlighted the successes of the Oklahoma Early Childhood Coalition, with special emphasis on four areas of impact to families with children, birth to five. Those areas were: Pay for Success, as a strategy for achieving measurable outcomes; children’s health maladies and remedies, adverse childhood experiences, and a two generation approach to reducing poverty. Our keynote speaker, as well as our breakout session presenters, focused on impact as well as proven strategies that have led to positive outcomes. Oklahoma is no stranger to low rankings; our conference experts will share how we as a state can reverse those trends.

Below are copies of each speakers power points

2016 Fall Conference

The Potts Family Foundation, with the support of several state foundations and organizations, hosted a statewide conference at the Skirvin Hotel in Oklahoma City on October 26, 2016. The conference focused heavily on the importance of investing in our recently developed early childhood coalition, with a special emphasis on the four focus areas that comprise the initiative: evidence-based literacy/numeracy programs, evidence-based family support programs, accessible and affordable high quality childcare, and accessible preventive physical, mental, and dental health services.

Nancy Fishman, Deputy Director of Ready Nation ( ), was our keynote speaker over the lunch hour and she had agreed to facilitate a legislative panel toward the end of the conference. In between those two events, attendees had the opportunity to attend two of four breakout sessions, with state subject matter experts leading the discussion, taking questions, and providing answers as well on their respective topics. The goals of the breakout sessions were to discuss the importance of the focus areas, describe the current obstacles each is facing, and to share potential solutions for future program expansion. The findings were captured and shared with both Nancy Fishman and the legislative panel, who provide their thoughts and expectations for 2017 and beyond.

As constructed, we are happy to say it was a very informative and interactive conference, where both problems and solutions were discussed in a very pragmatic, substantive, and tangible manner. Nancy’s expertise in this field and her breadth of experiences in working with other states provided attendees with a very realistic, challenging, but hopeful prospect for the future of education and workforce development in Oklahoma.

If you would like to see our Agenda or view the powerpoints used in the Conference, please click on the corresponding links below.


Summaries and Articles:

2016 Press Conference

By: Pat Potts

The official launch of the 25 by 25 initiative occurred Tuesday, May 10 at the State Capitol. The program included Steve Hendrickson representing the Oklahoma Business Roundtable, Ann Cameron representing Smart Start Oklahoma and Representative Jason Dunnington representing the legislature. (Senator Stephanie Bice was called away during the presentation and I shared her piece.) Craig Knutson and I described the 25 by 25 program and the others provided testimonials.

We had a full room and a follow-up article in the Oklahoman. We also received positive press from John Thompson, which we have attached here. All attendees received a folder that included 25 by 25 descriptive materials and the list of members of the Early Childhood Legislative Caucus and the names of Allied Organizations lending their support. We were pleased that we exceeded our initial goal of 25 members in each group by the date of the launch.

So now we have growing core groups with whom we can share information and support. We also plan to involve every OKCEO in some form of advocacy in the year ahead. And you may have already learned about plans to begin outreach to 25 communities across the state within the next 10 years working with Smart Start Oklahoma and Early Head Start. State agency experts and nonprofit service providers will help link identified needs with effective programs. The data metrics committee was recently formed and has already had their initial meeting. We will partner in reporting progress on an annual basis.
Ultimately we hope this helps to raise Oklahoma’s rankings of early childhood well-being to the top 25 states by 2025!


OKCEO’s 5 Year Celebration

A fifth anniversary celebration of the OKCEO program was held in January in Oklahoma City, sponsored by the collaboration that created the program. OKCEO, which stands for Oklahoma Champions for Early Opportunities, was the brainchild of three distinct organizations seeking to elevate the discussion, awareness, and importance of early childhood education in Oklahoma. The Potts Family Foundation, Smart Start Oklahoma, and the Oklahoma Business Roundtable formed a partnership over five years ago that has only strengthened with time.

Made up of key business and community leaders from across the state, OKCEOs have volunteered their time, talent, and expertise to educating audiences through presentations and op-eds and advocating at the Legislature for additional attention and dollars for evidence-based programs that positively impact both families and their children. This event was an opportunity for the three organizations to say THANKS to all the volunteers for their sustained efforts over the past five years.