SAM Partners

Read, Rattle, and Roll

On October 29th the Spartanburg Academic Movement will host “Read, Rattle, and Roll” in partnership with Help Me Grow South Carolina and the Bridge at Green Street.  “Read, Rattle, and Roll” is a free developmental screening event for families in Spartanburg with young children ages 2 months – 5 years. The event will take place at the Bridge at Green Street located at 446 Brawley Street in Spartanburg’s Northside community.

What is developmental screening?  

Early childhood developmental screening is the process of detecting delays in reaching typical developmental milestones, referring children for additional assessments, and initiating early intervention services.  According to the South Carolina Developmental Screening Landscape Survey, the most widely used screening tool is the Ages and Stages Questionnaires (ASQ-3).

The ASQ-3 is a standardized screening tool completed by family members and others who are familiar with a child’s common skills and behaviors.  Developmental screening is a non-invasive process that considers the age of the child, the typical milestones for the age range, and parent/caregiver responses on the child’s current abilities relative to the typical milestones.

Developmental screening does not provide a diagnosis of any kind, but can be extremely helpful in identifying children that should seek further evaluation and referrals to early intervention services.  Some concerns that may be revealed through a developmental screen include potential speech/communication delays and gross/fine motor delays.

Why focus on developmental screening?

As highlighted in the article, early detection and interventions can have profound impacts on child outcomes.  In the article, “Justin” is described as a third grader who is meeting all of his grade-level expectations and gets along well with others, even though he is on the autism spectrum.  His story is very positive because his parents were able to detect early signs of autism and have him screened at 18 months old – providing for years of early intervention therapies that have allowed him to meet or exceed many benchmarks thought to be impossible.

Developmental screening allows for the early detection of concerns, further assessment, and the provision of early intervention services as soon as possible.  Those early intervention services provide can be successful in addressing the needs of a child and reduce the likelihood for further special education services.  

Many children, however, have not had a developmental screening and may be experiencing developmental delays that go undetected until they enter kindergarten.  At this point, students are at a disadvantage in their ability to learn and the schools incur the tremendous responsibility of providing many therapy services in school.  Of course, therapies will always need to be provided in a school setting, but for many children, the same therapies provided much earlier than kindergarten can be successful in addressing the delay and reducing the need for services later on. 

A recent article from the Institute for Child Success, “Early Childhood Developmental Screening in South Carolina:  Common Practices, Opportunities, and Challenges” highlights the importance of and impact that early childhood developmental screening can have for a community, including economic and social benefits for students, families, schools, and states.

It is SAM’s desire that through events like “Read, Rattle, and Roll” and the collective focus of partners like our child care community there will be a tremendous increase in the number of children in Spartanburg County that have access to free developmental screenings and the connection to early intervention services so that more and more of our children get the very best start on their journey to lifelong success.

Share this event with your friends and neighbors and encourage young families to attend on October 29th.  

Beth Gets Her Black Belt

So we don't have any ninjas in the office, but congratulations are definitely in order! Beth Thompson, Director of Collaborative Action Networks, just received her Lean Six Sigma Black Belt certification at our last Board of Directors meeting. The certification was presented to her by BMW associates Mark Fendley and Eric Hayler following her final project presentation.

Pictured from left to right: Mark Fendley, Beth Thompson, Eric Hayler

Pictured from left to right: Mark Fendley, Beth Thompson, Eric Hayler

In order to receive her Black Belt certification, Beth had to successfully complete 5 weeks of classroom training and demonstrate appropriate use of the Six Sigma method throughout her project.  The Six Sigma Continuous Improvement process provides a methodology and set of tools to move the needle on SAM's indicators of academic success.  Beth’s project focused on improving kindergarten readiness outcomes by organizing the Kindergarten Success Collaborative Action Network (“KSCAN”) and facilitating the group’s work through the DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control) process she learned during her training.  The KSCAN has began collectively implementing actions that will improve outcomes for our earliest learners. 

With Six Sigma, all Collaborative Action Networks are able to have efficient and effective meetings and make data driven decisions every step of the way. In order to improve cradle to career outcomes for students in Spartanburg County, it is important to understand the factors already contributing to the success of students and inhibiting success for others. Continuous improvement is at the heart of what SAM is about, and Beth's success facilitating the KSCAN using the Six Sigma methodology is proof that it works. 

BMW will welcome a second staff member, Dr. Glen Carson, to their Six Sigma Black Belt training program in September. We are forever grateful for BMW’s investment in the continuous improvement work of SAM.  

Congratulations again to Beth for her hard work and wonderful presentation, and best of luck to Glen as he starts his training next month.