Reflections on the 2018 Partner Summit

As a new state partner, I was thrilled to attend the Alliance for Early Success’ 2018 Partner Summit in Denver alongside Lynanne Gutierrez, Policy Director & Legal Counsel. The Partner Summit was three days chockful of inspirational and thought-provoking information and opportunities to connect with our counterparts in other states who share similar experiences, challenges, solutions and even funders. These connections and conversations came at a critical point for Groundwork Ohio, as we seek to advance the early education conversation with Ohio’s newly elected governor.

Given our small (but mighty!) staff, we found the opportunities for technical assistance sessions with leading experts to be invaluable. Our conversations with GEEARS, the Georgetown Center for Children and Families and the National Governors Association continue beyond the Summit and we are confident they will be integral to building our collective knowledge and capacity.  We are grateful for these new relationships and hope to reciprocate this generosity to others in the network.

The Summit came at a particularly critical time for us as Ohio’s incoming governor, Mike DeWine, gets ready to take office. Our strategic campaign, Vote for Ohio Kids, highlighted the importance of investing in early childhood education and health care to lay a strong foundation for every child in Ohio.  Governor-Elect DeWine who campaigned on and has made specific commitments to investing in Ohio’s youngest learners.  It is not by accident that we find ourselves in such an exciting position given our strategic campaign, Vote for Ohio Kids. With this new governor, however, comes an even greater responsibility for Groundwork as we strive to be a trusted resource to him and his new administration. We look forward to partnering in their success when it comes to serving Ohio’s youngest and most vulnerable children—and we’re grateful for the expertise shared with us at the Summit to do just that.

Rest assured, we will continue to follow the lead of the Alliance in its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. As I mentioned in the session “Translating Equity into Early Childhood Policy,” while we don’t yet have all the answers, Groundwork is committed to elevating the important discussion in our state and improving state policies for Ohio’s children. It was truly a highlight for both Lynanne and I to share our Ohio Early Childhood Race & Rural Equity Report and learn additional strategies to translate our report into sound public policy. We look forward to seeing how this work grows over the next year as we continue to learn from others who are bravely leading in this area.

Lynanne and I returned to Ohio with a renewed commitment to the great responsibility we have to young children in our state and perhaps, most importantly, a reminder that we don’t share this burden alone. We are grateful to travel this journey alongside an inspiring community of policy experts and advocates.

Shannon Jones
Executive Director
Groundwork Ohio

(December 12, 2018)