Back to top

Mission: Graduate Selected for Special Kindergarten Readiness Initiative led by StriveTogether

Share this on:

NM in Depth: Albuquerque birth to 3 project chosen for national network, April 24

Mission: Graduate selected along with six organizations across the U.S.

ALBUQUERQUE, NM, April 24, 2018 — Mission: Graduate, a cradle-to-career initiative of United Way of Central New Mexico joins five other communities selected from across the country to participate in the Prenatal to Age 3 Impact and Improvement Network being led by StriveTogether, a national nonprofit working to improve education for every child. Launched in partnership with the National Institute for Children’s Health Quality (NICHQ), this special initiative will improve kindergarten readiness by focusing on child development from birth to age 3.

“Over the past few years, Mission: Graduate's Early Childhood Accountability Partnership has developed a robust body of work focused on improving interactions between young children and caregivers, beginning at birth,” explains Mission: Graduate’s Executive Director Angelo Gonzales . “Becoming a part of this national learning community will help us refine performance measures and more precisely measure the effect of selected interventions.”  

Kindergarten readiness is one of the seven key educational outcomes tracked by StriveTogether Cradle to Career Network communities. The StriveTogether Prenatal to Age 3 Impact and Improvement Network will increase the number of children meeting critical early milestones by promoting targeted, evidence-based strategies and building the capacity of local leaders and practitioners.

Over 16 months, this network will help the six communities improve kindergarten readiness and accelerate progress for local students through an approach that combines leadership development, continuous improvement tools, peer-to-peer learning, design thinking and data use training. Participating communities include Memphis, Tenn. (Seeding Success); Norwalk, Conn. (Norwalk Acts); Salt Lake City, Utah (Promise Partnerships of Salt Lae); Spartanburg County, S.C. (Spartanburg Academic Movement); and Tucson, Ariz. (Cradle to Career Partnership).

“The first few years of a child’s life are critical in determining future success,” StriveTogether CEO and President Jennifer Blatz said. “It’s our obligation as Americans to provide every child with opportunity through a quality education, but each year an estimated 3 million children in the U.S. are at risk of being woefully unprepared for kindergarten. By partnering with NICHQ, we will help to drive policies and investments in core services proven to improve educational, economic, health and social outcomes for children and families.”

“Improving the health and development of infants and toddlers has long-term benefits for children, families and our society. It also sets the stage for the way kids learn throughout their lives,” said Dr. Jill Sells, clinical director of Early Childhood Initiatives at NICHQ and a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. “We are thrilled to partner with StriveTogether and these six communities, whose focus on this age group makes them pioneers in testing strategies for kindergarten readiness.”

The Prenatal to Age 3 Impact and Improvement Network is part of an effort with three other organizations — the National Association of Counties, National League of Cities and the Center for the Study of Social Policy — to improve the lives of infants, toddlers and families. The partner organizations will equip communities with tools and resources to build strong early childhood systems and share best practices with other cities, counties and states. This critical work is being funded by the Pritzker Children’s Initiative, a project of the J.B. and M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation.

This is StriveTogether’s third national Impact and Improvement Network. The StriveTogether Postsecondary Enrollment Impact and Improvement Network boosted completions for federal student aid applications through a data-driven, collaborative model derived from the health care field. Participants supported nearly 31,000 students to complete applications in 2015-16. Five of the six communities increased their yearly completion rates at the school level, four increased district-level completions and three tallied school-level gains of 10 percent or more.


About Mission: Graduate
Mission: Graduate, an initiative of United Way of Central New Mexico, is a cradle-to-career partnership consisting of educators, local employers, educational support providers, government leaders and citizens who are committed to a goal of 60,000 new graduates with college degrees and certificates in central New Mexico by the year 2020. Mission: Graduate is an initiative of the United Way of Central New Mexico. #60Kby2020

About StriveTogether

StriveTogether leads a national movement of nearly 70 communities to get better results in every child’s life. We coach and connect partners across the country to close gaps by using local data, especially for children of color and low-income children. Communities using our proven approach have seen measurable gains in kindergarten readiness, academic achievement and postsecondary success. The StriveTogether Cradle to Career Network reaches 10.4 million students, involves 10,800 organizations and has partners in 30 states and Washington, D.C.

About National Institute for Children’s Health Quality (NICHQ)
The National Institute for Children’s Health Quality (NICHQ) is a mission-driven nonprofit dedicated to driving sustainable improvements in the complex issues facing children’s health. We provide deep expertise in developing the pathways and partnerships for catalyzing change to achieve better outcomes for children and families. Learn more at


Cradle to Career Step: