Working together through continuous learning to improve the quality of life for all in DeKalb County, Indiana
An education initiative of the Community Foundation of DeKalb County

Early Childhood Learning: What We’re Doing and What We’ve Accomplished April 2015


percent of entering dekalb county kindergarten students ready for success in school

Early Childhood Education

Our vision

All children in DeKalb County will enter Kindergarten “ready” for success in school according to a shared definition of “readiness.”

What we’ll accomplish

**51% of Kindergarten students will enter school at the benchmark “ready” for every class in every school in DeKalb County by 2015.

Data we’re using to measure progress

The percent of entering kindergarten students screened as “ready” based on a common definition of kindergarten readiness shared countywide.


Baseline 2011: 38%

Year Goal Actual
2012 50% 56%*
2013 75% 54%
2014 85% 46%
2015 51%**

*In 2012, the kindergarten readiness screening tool was revised to align with the U.S. Department of Education’s expectations for letter identification.
**Adjusted based on a 10% increase from 2014 (was originally 90%).

Current status
  • Indiana spent $22M on kindergarten retention this past year, compared to $17M last year.
  • United Way DeKalb County and DeKalb Health are implementing Let’s Talk, an early learning program focused on parents talking to their babies from birth. Communication with families who “opt-in”, via text messaging, may be maintained for five years. Parents of children ages 0-5 may text ‘Talk2Baby’ to 99000 to receive Let’s Talk weekly parenting tips and information.
  • Only 46% of entering Kindergarten students in 2014 were screened as “ready” in all three domains (academic, language and socio-emotional), down from 54%. Screening for 2015 is underway.
  • According to the FSSA (2014), there’s a need to increase the number of quality slots in DeKalb County by 1,874. Only 17.3% of DeKalb County children, ages 0-5, who need care have access to “quality” spots, the lowest percentage of any county in northeast Indiana.
What we’re doing to achieve our goals
  • Garrett High School student, Braelyn Robbins, designed an early learning 2015 summer calendar for families of children countywide entering school this Fall.
  • Continuing to create awareness around the contribution of high quality early care and education programs to a child’s readiness for school.
  • Community leaders and those who work with young children are encouraged to attend a presentation by Dr. Megan Purcell, Purdue University, about community collaboration for improved school readiness on Thursday, April 23, at Bridgewater Golf Club from 4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. The event is open to the public at no cost with an rsvp to Judy Walker at the United Way office,

April 2015 Early Childhood Overview (PDF)