Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and its many obstacles to early learning, Black and Brown Pre-K students in Memphis and Shelby County, TN are on track and on grade level, achieving strong Pre-K literacy skill levels and rates of Kindergarten readiness. This session will explore how an innovative public-private partnership, outcomes orientation, and local leadership were critical to maintaining a continued focus on student learning and attainment during COVID.
Since 2019, First 8 Memphis and the Community Outcomes Fund at Maycomb Capital have partnered with the City of Memphis, Shelby County, and the Urban Child Institute to deliver universal, needs-based Pre-K to children living in Memphis and Shelby County, alongside wraparound support services. Notably, this equitable Pre-K program is the first of its kind in Tennessee, a state that has not expanded Pre-K in over a decade. To align the city and county’s historic investment with real community impact, the project uses an outcomes-based financing model that ties funding to positive, measurable results for students and their families.