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 2016


percentage 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. Goal was not met.

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%; following a revision in 2012: 56%

Year Goal Actual
2013 75% 54%
2014 85% 46%
2015 51%* 49%
2016 TBD Report due in October

*Adjusted based on a 10% increase from 2014 (was originally 90%).

Current status
  • Working to create awareness around the contribution of high quality early care and education to a child’s well-being. In DeKalb County, only 21.4% of children in need of care are enrolled in high quality child care and education programs.
  • A shortage of 8,043 early childhood education teachers is projected in Indiana by 2022.
  • The cost of Kindergarten retention in DeKalb County increased from $52,624 in 2013-14, to $66,976 in 2014-15. Indiana spent $22M on kindergarten retention this past year, compared to $17M last year.
  • 14.8% of DeKalb County children were reported living in poverty in 2014; this is down from 2013 when 18.4% of DeKalb County children were reported living in poverty (Kids Count Data Center); poverty directly affects childhood development, increasing the risk for developmental delays.
  • 70% of children with developmental delays go undiagnosed before entering school. And we expect them to be “ready” for kindergarten?
What we’re doing to achieve our goals
  • The county’s 2016 kindergarten readiness screening was revised to better align with the state’s recently revised Early Learning Foundations. The team will consult with early childhood professionals who measure children’s socio-emotional skills prior to entering school. How might we work together to use these data to benefit our children?
  • Promoting The Raising of America five-part series airing on PBS 39 in April. Why focus on early childhood? Go to: for program schedule or
  • Working with United Way of DeKalb County to create awareness of:
    1. readiness for school;
    2. the importance of the early identification of developmental delays; and
    3. the importance of talking to your baby from birth.
  • Maintaining resources for supporting DeKalb County parents of children, ages 0-5. See the Parent Resources brochure or go to and click on Parenting.
  • Educational opportunities are posted to the Parenting team’s Facebook page; search DeKalb County IN Parents.

April 2016 Early Childhood Overview (PDF)