‘Early Matters’ Initiative Kickoff, A Success!

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Early Matters initiative is made up of 50 local leaders in the nonprofit, business, education, and philanthropic sectors.

Collaborative for Children is proud to announce its participation in the Early Matters coalition, which aims at improving early education issues in Houston over the next 10 years.

Dozens of businesses, including Texas-based HEB, as well as local school districts and philanthropic organizations have come together to raise awareness to the need to improve early childhood standards in the state.

Carol Shattuck, CEO of Collaborative for Children said, “We are thrilled to be a part of Carol resizethis growing coalition who sees the tremendous importance of investing early in young children and the long term impact of such an investment on Houston’s workforce of the future.”

During a press conference on the first day of school at Sylvan Rodriguez Elementary School, Greater Houston Partnership President and CEO Bob Harvey spoke of the need to improve pre-K guidelines, “Unfortunately we know from experience that perhaps as many as 60% of the children arrive ill prepared and ill equipped.”

Dr. Bob Sanborn, President and CEO of Children at Risk added, “For a lot of our high poverty children there’s no learning until they get to school, which is one of the reasons we’re talking about pre-K programs.”

On Sept. 26, a summit coordinated by Early Matters will be held at Rice University targeting business leaders, elected officials, philanthropic and community leaders to release a report on the state of early education in our region and presenting a plan for addressing the need to improve quality and expand access to high quality early education to more young children in our region. Gen. Colin Powell and businessman George Kaiser are two of the speakers. We hope this event will expand the circle of those who are ready and willing to work on this issue in our community!

Yesterday’s Early Matters launch was well-received by local media. You can check out reports from KPRC Local 2, Fox 26 News , Houston Chronicle, News 92 FM, Houston Public Media and HISD’s News Blog.



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We Bid Farewell to Longtime Committee Chair, Supporter

Collaborative for Children thanks Dee Dee Guzman for all her hard work.

Collaborative for Children thanks Dee Dee Guzman for all her hard work.

Collaborative for Children said goodbye to devoted advocate Dee Dee Guzman, who is leaving Texas. Over the years, she worked tirelessly to help in our mission to improve the quality of early education.

Her work with Collaborative for Children dates back to the 1990s, when the organization was named “Initiatives with Children.” Guzman is credited with helping create Collaborative for Children’s Early Childhood Education Industry Committee and serving as chair since 2006. The committee aims at helping improve the early education industry, and is made up of education professionals from a number of agencies, including the Houston Independent School District and Head Start. The group helps identify gaps and works to close in early education.

During a surprise reception, Collaborative for Children staff shared their fondest memories of Guzman. “She set an example in her company on what needs to be done for families and for children,” Collaborative for Children President and CEO Carol S. Shattuck said. “She is a passionate advocate for early childhood education.”

Guzman reflected on a specific moment that impacted her desire to advocate for quality early childhood education. While visiting a child care center several years ago, Guzman said she was shocked by the lack of resources available at the center.

Guzman helped create our Early Childhood education Industry Committee.

Guzman helped create our Early Childhood Education Industry Committee.

“I had never seen a center lacking so much,” Guzman said. “Children were alone, sitting in high chairs, watching TV. There was nothing else. I was shocked there was no caregiver interacting with the children. They just though it was OK. It made me understand what we were fighting for or fighting against.”

Guzman was instrumental in an initiative in 2013 to provide free in-service training to pre-K teachers. She also helped create http://txgulfcoastearlyed.org/, an online resource site for early educators in the Texas Gulf Coast. The site allows child care administrators to address any human resources needs they may have.

Collaborative for Children commended Guzman for her ability to use her professional corporate skills with her passion to fight for early education. “The combination of passion for children and the business world has been so helpful to us,” Collaborative for Children Vice President of Programs & Collaboration Development Sul Ross said.

Guzman said she draws some of her inspiration to help the public from her former position in the workforce. “I do think there’s a corporate social responsibility,” she said. “I think the corporations of the world have a responsibility to raise everyone around them. There is a role for corporations to do good.”

Guzman joined Collaborative for Children in 1996.

Guzman joined Collaborative for Children in 1996.

Another source of motivation for Guzman is our own President and CEO, Carol S. Shattuck. “Carol does a really amazing job at pulling together this cause,” Guzman said. “Early education is a very complicated issue. She has perfectly walked that tight rope and has been able to move that complicated ball of issues on a very steep mountain—with very incredible determination. She’s an incredible leader and incredibly smart.”

Guzman is moving to Atlanta, where she will reside with her husband and three teenage boys.



Free Online Training in Honor of Provider Appreciation Day


A child care provider at a center taking part in College Bound from Birth teaches children a lesson that will improve their kindergarten readiness.

Like every professional, child care providers must continue to strengthen his/her skills. Ongoing training and professional development is a requirement for working with young children, and early childhood educators are required to complete certain hours of training each year to maintain their certifications.

Collaborative for Children offers both in-person and online training courses for early childhood educators. Dana Lagarde, owner and director of Lifetime Learners Child Development Center in Katy, attests to the benefits of our courses.

“After the course was over, I felt rejuvenated and ready to get into my classroom to teach,” Lagarde said. “It has changed my life and the way my students learn. Among many things, this course has enabled my students to better dictate what happened in a story that was read aloud to them and I cannot thank Collaborative for Children and Ms. Beverly, our instructor, enough!”

As a thank you to early childhood professionals, Collaborative for Children is offering a free online training course this week!  Classroom Management will be offered for free through Friday, May 9th and is designed to help educators learn appropriate classroom management and organizational practices. For more information about this course and to sign up by Friday May 9, click here.

Lifetime Learners Child Development Center owner and director Dana Lagarde shares what she learned while taking part in Collaborative for Children’s Loving Literacy for Life program.

Children take part in a name-writing activity  - as part of Loving Literacy for Life.

Children take part in a name-writing activity – as part of Loving Literacy for Life.