Strengthening Home Visitation Programming
Kansas Parents As Teachers Association (KPATA) has provided support, information, and resources to programs in Kansas using the Parents As Teachers (PAT) curriculum, and to families with children ages prenatal-five. The organization was founded by a group of interested coordinators in the Kansas City Area Parents As Teachers Consortium at the urging of their advisory board. If not for these women and their vision and determination, there would not be a KPATA-an organization that has continued to become a powerful force in Kansas education. KPATA was created to meet a profound challenge: to better the lives of children and families in Kansas by strengthening home visitation programming.
The first organizational meeting was held in 2000 and the founders began to lay the groundwork for an influential organization. Sixty-nine charter members joined on February 22, 2001. Bylaws were created, and officers were elected. The officers began work on Articles of Incorporation and the application for 501©3 status, as well as t-shirts and brochures. PAT Day at the Capitol became a signature event of the organization. The first year over 2000 contacts were made to legislators through the grassroots organization to support a $2 million increase for Parents As Teachers programs in Kansas.
By 2003 through consistent hard work and perseverance KPATA had become recognized on the Kansas early childhood education/parent education landscape. An alliance was formed with Kansas Parent Information Resource Center to provide families and professionals with the information and resources necessary to increase parent involvement in their children’s learning. KPATA and KPIRC began creating and distributing the PAT Updates, the development and distribution of “Development Wheels”, sponsored PAT statewide conference, completed several grant applications for additional funding, and met with representatives from the Kauffman Foundation to continue the Quality Standards Assessment pilot in Kansas and take the leadership role. As the partnership with the KPIRC continued through the years additional publications were written, published, and distributed to stakeholders including, “Parents As Teachers, Helping Kansas be the best state in the nation to raise children! A logo for the organization was designed to begin to create branding for the organization and a website was designed and implemented to link members to vital information.
PAT Day at the Capitol
Sharing information with stakeholders has been a cornerstone of the organization. From the simple beginnings at PAT Day at the Capitol to more organized distribution of PAT Updates to stakeholders across the state annually. Currently we host the legislative advocacy training at each PAT Day, regular e-group updates during legislative session, the Issues and Action webpage. Additionally board members have traveled to Washington, D.C. and shared information with our National legislators during Parents As Teachers National Center’s “Education Begins at Home Act” Day on Capitol Hill in 2006 and 2007.
Based on the organization’s leadership reputation during the last few years KPATA has also forged a strong working alliance with the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE). The organization entered into a contract with KSDE to organize and facilitate Parents As Teachers Born to Learn trainings throughout the state, develop, write, and deliver regional trainings through the state, co-sponsor bi-annual conference, and continue to manage the roll out of the Quality Standards including the hiring of consultants, training, consultation and technical assistance. Additionally the organization supports scholarships to the PATNC annual conference.
Because early childhood education outcomes are based upon the quality of services provided to children and families, Parents as Teachers National Center offers its programs a blueprint for quality implementation of its Born to LearnTM model. This blueprint comes in the form of eight quality standards based on best practices. In addition to the blueprint, Parents as Teachers National Center provides a comprehensive easy-to-implement self-assessment process to help you measure your program, recognize your strengths, and develop a plan for continuous program improvement.
The Parents as Teachers quality initiative has three basic components:
- the Parents as Teachers standards and quality indicators
- a program self-assessment process using A Closer Look…The PAT Standard and Self-Assessment Guide
- a site visit and national recognition program
In Kansas, the State Department of Education funded districts using the Parents as Teachers self-assessment process, including A Closer Look. The PAT Standards and Self-Assessment Guide is required. All districts must incorporate the process into the PAT program and write
Yearly Continuous Quality Improvement Plan in their annual Continuation Grant Application. Programs receive an initial quality visit by a Kansas Quality Consultant. Every 3 years after that district programs reevaluate using all eight standards, their plan internally or with another Quality Consultant visit.