Griswold is a small town with a population of approximately 12,093 residents located in New London County in the Southeast corner of Connecticut. With a land area of 35 square miles, most of the town is rural with a one-mile square area in the center of town called Borough of Jewett City.
For over two years the Children First Griswold Collaborative—a community partnership dedicated to improving outcomes for our children from birth through age 8—has been working on a comprehensive Community Plan. Made possible through a grant from the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund, the Plan aligns the best of our town’s resources around a roadmap that better prepares our youngsters to succeed in school and in life.
Working toward a result that all of Griswold’s children are healthy, prepared and successful lifetime learners, we have been gathering and analyzing data to clearly understand our challenges and the direction we need to take to address these challenges. Engaged in the planning process under the Plan Enhancement category, we continue to examine the community conditions that impact the education and development of our youngest residents.
Two domain teams have emerged to carry the planning work forward: the Health Team and the Education Team. Each team has identified several possible strategies to begin to address areas of concern and turn the curve on our indicators.
• Percentage of children entering preschool overweight
• Percentage of children entering kindergarten who are overweight or obese.
• Percentage of children meeting goal on 3rd grade CMTs –Math
• Percentage of children meeting goal on 3rd grade CMTs– Reading
In efforts to ensure broad-based community involvement in the planning process, we have held, and continually plan, activities and events that allow stakeholders to shape the document. We hold monthly full-Collaborative and Domain Team Meetings, as well as periodic community consultation events such as community conversations and focus groups. We also distribute a monthly e-newsletter and have created a website (childrenfirstgriswold.org) to serve not only as a resource for the community on a range of early childhood issues, but as a mechanism to solicit feedback from the community.
We also strive to raise awareness of the importance of Early Childhood Education in Griswold, and have successfully mobilized community members to pass school budget to retain our preschool provision. We are also currently supporting efforts to provide full day Kindergarten.
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