Great Start Collaborative shares strategic plan, vision for 2024-26


That children are born healthy, thriving, developmentally on track, and prepared to succeed

CHARLEVOIX – Every three years, the Michigan Department of Education Office of Great Start requires Great Start Collaboratives across the state to update their local-level, early childhood system strategic plans. 

The Great Start Collaborative of Charlevoix, Emmet and Northern Antrim Counties recently completed and shared its strategic plan with stakeholders, community members, and regional leaders at a meeting in Charlevoix Oct.17, 2023. 

“After surveys, focus groups, stakeholder conversations, and thoughtful consideration, the Great Start Collaborative of Charlevoix, Emmet, and Northern Antrim Counties created a strategic plan to enhance our early childhood system, while achieving the outcomes shared by the Michigan Department of Education, Office of Great Start,” said GSC Director, Savanah Cool. 

As the local early childhood system building bodies, Great Start Collaboratives are charged with conducting a community needs and strengths assessment, and developing an early childhood action agenda with clearly defined goals and objectives that ensure four required outcomes are made possible for all children: 

  • children are born healthy; 
  • children are healthy, thriving, and developmentally on track from birth to third grade;
  • children are developmentally ready to succeed in school at the time of school entry;
  • children are prepared to succeed in 4th grade and beyond by reading proficiently at the end of third grade. 

In developing its goals for 2024-26, the local GSC will center its work on the following, according to Cool: 

  • Early childhood organizations will have effective communication, coordination, and collaboration. 
  • Families will have an awareness of services available, and be able to access those services effectively. 
  • Families will have increased knowledge of child development and an understanding of the importance of early intervention. 

Additionally, after receiving significant feedback from collaborative members, partners, parents, and caregivers, the collaborative has made revisions to both its mission and vision. “The updated mission better aligns with the collaborative’s shift to stronger systems change work, while the revisions to the vision lift up the importance of both the children and families as a whole and places further value on each child and family thriving in all facets of life,” said Cool. 

The revised mission and vision are:

  • Mission: to coordinate a system of community resources and support to strengthen families and improve child outcomes. 
  • Vision: every child and family is nurtured and supported so they may thrive. 

“Overall, the collaborative will be working to strengthen our value as a connector and support for all members of our early childhood system,” said Cool. “Community members can expect to see initiatives like the Family Resource Guide, Family Planning & Pregnancy Guide, Help Me Grow Char-Em, Strengthening Families training facilitation, and efforts to continue the growth of a healthy and strong Family Coalition taking precedence as we move forward.”

To view the 2024-26 Great Start Collaborative Strategic Plan, go online to The guides referenced above can also be found on the website.

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