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Every Child Ready Chicago

Ensuring Our Youngest Learners, From Before Birth to Age 5, Can Thrive

Every Child Ready Chicago (ECRC) is a public-private partnership led by the Mayor’s Office in partnership with Start Early (formerly known as the Ounce of Prevention Fund) working to ensure all children in Chicago enter kindergarten ready to succeed in school and life. The multi-year, collective effort will work to align the prenatal-to-five systems and supports serving Chicago children and families under a unified vision and build the early childhood systems infrastructure needed for thousands more children to enter kindergarten ready to learn.

Chicago has a strong history of investing in early learning opportunities that begin at birth and are delivered in both school and community-based settings. The initiative will build on this strong foundation to set forth — and achieve — a vision of a coherent prenatal-to-five system that provides equitable access to supports and services that ensure the highest outcomes for our city’s youngest learners.

Children reading a book

Daycare worker playing with baby

ECRC launched in fall of 2020 by bringing together leaders from early childhood programs and services, the research and advocacy communities, parents and families of young children, and city agencies to create a shared vision of success for the city’s system for its young children and their families. This Early Childhood Working Group will guide the City and inform the development and implementation of a plan to create a strong, equitable early childhood system with positive outcomes for all children

List of Working Group Members

  • Aaron Williams (Woodson School Parent, Family Representative)
  • Anita Andrews-Hutchinson (Member, Child Care Advocates United)
  • Anne Farrell (Director of Research, Chapin Hall)
  • April Janney (Executive Director, Illinois Action for Children)
  • Bela Mote (Executive Director, Carole Robinson Center for Learning)
  • Bethany Patten (Associate Director of the Office of Early Childhood, IDHS)
  • Bryan Stokes (Chief of Early Childhood Education, Chicago Public Schools)
  • Cerathel Burgess-Burnett (Deputy Commissioner, Department of Family Support Services)
  • Cheryse Singleton-Nobles (Family Representative)
  • Christa Hamilton (CEO/ED, Centers for New Horizons )
  • Christina Herzog (Education, Program Director, Crown Family Foundation)
  • Cindy La (Director of Education, Asian Human Services)
  • Cornelia Grumman (Education Director, McCormick Foundation)
  • Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas
  • Dana Garner (Program Manager Early Childhood Education, IFF)
  • Daphne Williams (Provider/Owner, Smarty Pants Daycare)
  • Dara Munson (Executive Director, Chicago Childcare Society)
  • Denise Dell Isola (Program Director, Early Childhood, Irving Harris Foundation)
  • Diana Rauner (Executive Director, Start Early)
  • Diane Schanzenbach (Director of the Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University)
  • Edgar Ramirez (Executive Director, Chicago Commons)
  • Felipa Mena (COFI)
  • Jaclyn Vasquez (Director, Early Development Instrument (EDI), Erikson Institute)
  • Jamilah Jordan (Interim Executive Director, Governor's Office of ECE)
  • Jennifer Alexander (Director of Early Learning Policy, Mayor's Office)
  • Jennifer Seo (Medical Director, Chicago Department of Public Health)
  • Jesse Rojo (Early Learning Committee Organizer, COFI)
  • Kalid Oluewu (Principal -Webster, Chicago Public Schools)
  • Katie Conner (Truman Vice President of Academic Affairs, City Colleges)
  • Kristin Berhard (Senior VP, Policy and Advocacy, Start Early)
  • LaTanya McDade (Chief Education Officer, Chicago Public Schools)
  • Leslie McKinily (Deputy Chief Office of Early Childhood, Chicago Public Schools)
  • Luisiana Melendez (BOE ECE Chairperson, Chicago Public Schools)
  • Mandy Yanan Wang (Family Representative)
  • Maria Elena Arvizu (Family Representative)
  • Maricela Garcia (Executive Director, Gads Hill)
  • Mary Ellen Messner (Acting Commissioner, Chicago Public Library)
  • Mary Ottinot (Citywide Representative, Head Start Parent Policy Council)
  • Michael Scott (Alderman, City Council)
  • Nikki Garrett (DFSS Citywide Parent Policy Chair, Family Representative)
  • Oriana Wilson (Illinois State Board of Education)
  • Pfeffer Eisin (DCFS Early Childhood Project, Department of Family Support Services)
  • Ricardo Estrada (President, Metropolitan Family Services)
  • Robert Grady (Family Representative)
  • Ruth Kimble (Executive Director, Austin Childcare Providers Network)
  • Sara Slaughter (Executive Director, Stone Foundation)
  • Shontae Higginbothan (Network 5 Chief, Chicago Public Schools)
  • Sybil Madison (Deputy Mayor, Mayor's Office)
  • Sylvia Puente (Executive Director, Latino Policy Forum)
  • Tiffany Junkins (Manager of Family Support Programs, Department of Family Support Services)

ECRC Working Group Meeting Schedule

Shared Learning Journeys

ECRC is made possible by founding gifts from: