January 2024 Partner Plan Act Newsletter

January 6, 2024

“Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, week, month, or year. It is the struggle of a lifetime. Never be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.” 

– late Senator John Lewis

Community Systems Statewide Support (CS3) Update

Introducing Marquinta Thomas, New Vice President of Community Impact 

The CS3 team is excited to announce that Marquinta Thomas is the new Vice President of Community Impact as of November 27, 2023! 

Marquinta has been with Illinois Action for Children for nine years, most recently as Director of Referrals and Outreach. In her role as Director of Referrals and Outreach, Marquinta managed several teams that focus on connecting families to early learning and child care programs, including Chicago Early Learning Supports and Services; DCFS Foster Care Project; Corporate Contracts; Enhanced Referrals; IDHS Resource and Referral Hotline; Strengthening Connections and the GoCPS Hotline. She has served on several local and state committees, including the Illinois Early Learning Council and Birth-Five Illinois Region 1A Action Council. Prior to joining IAFC, Marquinta worked in family engagement and leadership roles with the Chicago Public Library and It Takes a Village Early Learning Center.   

Marquinta is passionate about connecting families to resources, respecting parent choice, and elevating parent voices. She holds a certificate in Child and Family Studies, a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology, and a Master of Arts degree in Early Childhood Education, all from Roosevelt University. She is also an alumna of the Barbara Bowman Leadership Fellowship. 

In her new role as VP of Community Impact, Marquinta oversees and provides leadership to three departments including the CS3 team, Referrals and Outreach, and Community Parenting Saturation Support.

Save the Date! Partner Plan Act Conference 2024 | May 7-8 

The theme of this year’s virtual conference is Equity from the Start: Strengthening Relationships for Systems Change. Planning is underway as applications have closed for session presenters and the Advisory Committee will begin meeting monthly to plan for the conference. 

Stay tuned for more information and announcements! 

Upcoming CS3 Trainings

Back by Popular Demand! Community Systems Development Foundational Training 101 | 2/22/24, 10–11:30 a.m. 

Due to the overwhelming level of interest, CS3 is excited to offer the CSD Foundational Training 101 once again on Thursday, February 22, 10–11:30 a.m. CS3 coach Artishia Hunter will return to facilitate the session. The training will be free and virtual with limited space. 

This training is beneficial for those new to community systems development and early childhood collaborations in laying a foundational understanding of community systems development work, as well as for existing collaborations in strengthening core concepts.  

In this training, participants will: 

  1. understand the importance of racial equity in early childhood systems 
  2. learn about community systems development 
  3. understand the role of early childhood community collaborations.  

Our trainer Artishia is a strategic collaborative, educator, and innovator with over 20 years of experience working to create equitable systems and implementing solutions that promote racial, economic, and social justice.  

For questions, contact CS3 Program Manager Deb Hwang. Click here to register.

Community Data Engagement Training – 2-Part Training Series 

As an extension of CS3’s four-part Data Literacy modules, this two-part, interactive workshop series will continue to support community collaborations in their data engagement efforts. Workshop one will focus on planning for data collection. Participants will review foundational data literacy concepts and explore community-centric strategies in preparation to support equitable data collection. 

Workshop two will take a deeper look at collecting and contextualizing data. This workshop prompts collaboration leaders to engage strategies that center family voices in the collection and methodology of gathering data and creating effective solutions. 

This series will be facilitated by CS3 trainers Jaclyn Vasquez and Rebecca Halperin: 

  • Workshop 1 will take place on 1/30/2024, 1-3 p.m. 
  • Workshop 2 will take place on 3/7/2024, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. 

Participants are welcome to register for one or both sessions. For questions, contact CS3 Program Manager Deb Hwang. Click here to register. 

Early Care and Education Program Models and Braiding Funding Streams to Better Serve Children & Families 

This two-part workshop series focuses on combining programs and funds across a community to maximize efforts in elevating quality services for children and families. In workshop one, participants will outline the fundamentals of braiding program models and funding streams. They will explore examples of how others have combined programming and/or funds and lay the foundation of how to get started. Workshop two will identify how to engage partners in community-based planning around combining programs and funding to provide quality care and education for young children. 

This series will be facilitated by CS3 trainers Kathleen Liffick and Jaclyn Vasquez: 

  • Workshop 1 will take place on 2/15/24, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. 
  • Workshop 2 will take place on 4/10/24, 12:30-2:30 p.m. 

Participants are welcome to register for one or both sessions. For questions, contact CS3 Program Manager Deb Hwang. Click here to register. 

For all trainings, we kindly ask that you do not bring AI into the training for recording or note-taking purposes. 

After registering, a calendar hold will be sent to you. Please do not distribute the calendar invite as space is limited for trainings. Instead, please encourage and direct folks to the registration forms for the trainings. 


Printing Support 

The CS3 team is excited to offer new support in partnership with American Color Labs for printing services. If your collaboration has marketing materials that you’d like to have printed, please complete this Request for Support form.  

The printing support can include flyers, annual reports, marketing collateral, stickers, banners, posters, and more. Please reach out to our team if you have questions about this support. For questions, please contact the CS3 team.  

Research and Data Analysis Support Available from EduDream   

The CS3 team is partnering with EduDream to provide one more early childhood community collaboration with research and analysis support. EduDream is a Latina-founded, woman-owned, research consulting firm inspiring transformation within education by bringing community voice and rigorous research together. The research and analysis support may include conducting landscape analyses of early childhood services, collecting secondary data, conducting trend analysis, developing data insights, or qualitative research and analysis.      
The research and data analysis support can help collaborations better understand the availability of high-quality early childhood education and care (ECEC) services in the community, families’ access to high-quality ECEC, workforce or facilities questions around ECEC, or ECEC costs to families.    

If your early childhood collaboration is interested in receiving research and analysis support, please complete this Request for Support and submit it to Brittain Ayres.   

Online Modules 

If you are unable to register for our upcoming trainings, there are several online modules on the Partner Plan Act website that allow participants to learn on their own pace. To access the modules, sign up for an On-Demand learning account.  

The Community Systems Development for Early Childhood Collaborations Course covers the community systems development (CSD) process by which community stakeholders from different sectors work in collaboration to focus and align their work, develop shared processes to achieve common outcomes and take collective responsibility for the young children in their community. These modules explore CSD in early childhood collaborations. 

The Early Childhood Collaboration Data 101 covers how data is crucial to the work of early childhood collaborations; many want to learn more about how to become more data-informed. These modules delve into how to focus your purpose, collect data, make meaning from the data, communicate findings to drive action and build a data culture. This course is comprised of six modules focused on data and the crucial role that it plays in community systems development. 

The Early Childhood Collaboration Data 201: Collecting and Summarizing Data focuses on how collecting qualitative data from stakeholders can be challenging, but this kind of engagement and input is an integral component of community systems work. These modules were created to provide Illinois’ early childhood collaborations and early childhood stakeholders in general with the knowledge, resources, and tools to gather, organize, and host data-centered events.