When Cleveland, Ohio, leaders wanted to increase access to and quality of preschool for 3- and 4 four-year-olds, ACS helped create a highly acclaimed model, build local support, and raise the profile of their work across the state and the nation.

How we did it: In a three-pronged approach, ACS planned, facilitated and helped to implement PRE4CLE’s communication and advocacy strategy, and developed and raised awareness of the organization.

  1. Facilitation. The ACS team led and facilitated nine separate working groups, with more than 60 participants, to delve deeply into aspects ranging from finance to teacher quality to transportation.
  2. Increased awareness. ACS developed and implemented a multi-faceted communication plan and a full suite of print and electronic materials, and secured media attention to showcase PRE4CLE.
  3. Advocacy. ACS created the guiding strategy for PRE4CLE’s local, state, and federal advocacy efforts, coordinated activities for all PRE4CLE partners and took the lead on direct lobbying to raise awareness, funding, and policy support.

Outcomes to date:

Advocacy outcomes:

  • PRE4CLE preserved Ohio’s Kindergarten Readiness Assessment (which was recommended for elimination).
  • PRE4CLE preserved Ohio’s three existing teaching licensure “bands” (which was recommended for elimination).
  • During the 2018 election, PRE4CLE was able to provide the final two gubernatorial campaigns feedback/edits and content for campaign briefing documents and policy priorities, and a framework for early learning, setting the stage to be a resource for whomever will be Ohio’s next Governor and building them as a champion for early learning. As a result of this groundwork, PRE4CLE has a strong relationship and is able to influence and support the executive branch in their efforts for Ohio’s youngest children.
  • Proactive advocacy work yielded quick changes in the executive branch. The day after he was elected, Governor DeWine announced a new position and named the director of children’s initiatives, which is the same individual PRE4CLE engaged with during the previous year on his campaign.
  • On January 14, 2019, Governor DeWine created the Children’s Initiative by executive order to elevate the importance of children’s programming in Ohio and drive improvements within the many state programs that serve children.
  • Ohio fixed the “38 county issue” which, because of a formula error, placed providers from 38 counties in the incorrect reimbursement band and denied them the market rate increase that their peers from other counties received.
  • Ohio’s three-licensure band structure, language was clarified to ensure content exams are required for teachers when being placed in a grade outside of their licensure band and that this placement is temporary, and legislative language was added to clarify the intention to include preschool licensure in any band.
  • PRE4CLE organized and conducted a provider focus group on compensation with 14 providers from 10 centers and a separate educator focus group with nine educators from seven centers, ultimately helping to inform PRE4CLE’s internal discussions related to sustainable funding for a key component of the PRE4CLE plan – quality educators and quality providers.

ACS' limited client list allowed them to focus on our policy priorities and maintain the daily contact necessary in a fast-paced political process.”

Katie Kelly

Director, PRE4CLE