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 October 2015


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.

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%**  49%

*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
  • 181 families have heard the Let’s Talk message at DeKalb Health through maternity ward visits; 112 of the families received 3-month mailings; 20 families received the 9-month mailings. The message: Talk to your child from birth.
  • 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.
  • 49% of entering Kindergarten students in 2015 were screened as “ready” in all three domains (academic, language and socio-emotional), up from 46% in 2014.
  • DeKalb Central’s early childhood education program was awarded a state matching grant to serve additional 4-year-olds whose families live below the federal poverty level.
  • A lower percentage of children, ages 0-5, live below the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) compared to the northeast Indiana region and the state. However, about the same percentage as the region and state live below 185% of the FPL.
What we’re doing to achieve our goals
  • Bringing Dr. Nancy Swigonski, IU Health, to DeKalb County to present her research on developmental delays; 70% of children with delays go undiagnosed before entering school.
  • Continuing to create awareness around the contribution of high quality early care and education to a child’s readiness for school.
  • Identifying additional resources for parents of children, ages 0-5. See the Learning Link Parent Resources brochure or go to and click on Parenting.

October 2015 Early Childhood Overview (PDF)