Early Childhood Steering Committee


The purpose of the ECSE is to engage in the coordination and promotion of early childhood education activities and complementary services, to serve as a community voice in the formulation of early childhood goals and objectives, and to identify other such services and activities as deemed necessary by the Members.

Outcome Area: Early Childhood

  • Low Birth Weight Babies
  • Kindergarten Readiness
  • Prenatal Care in First Trimester
  • Low Birth Weight Babies
  • Kindergarten Readiness
  • Prenatal Care in First Trimester


The Early Childhood Steering Committee has identified the following outcomes using the Results-Based Accountability (RBA) framework.

  • Babies are born healthy
  • Children are healthy, safe & nurtured
  • Children are ready for kindergarten


The Early Childhood Steering Committee was initially convened by the United Way of Santa Fe County as an informal round table of early childhood stakeholders in Santa Fe approximately two years ago. The Committee has been meeting once a month to share, discuss and collaborate on strategic and programmatic early childhood priorities of participating institutions. 

The members share the following goals and agenda:

  • Ensuring that all children in Santa Fe County are socially, emotionally and academically ready for their first day of kindergarten;
  • Promoting coordination and maximization of early learning resources to benefit the children in Santa Fe County;
  • Providing the regional delivery of comprehensive, coordinated and complementary services for young children, from birth through five, and for their families, to enable more children entering kindergarten ready to learn;
  • Promoting high-quality early learning and care programs through high standards with skilled practitioners who are fairly compensated and who receive effective professional development; and
  • Developing a broad community-wide awareness and commitment to provide high-quality early childhood education to all children in Santa Fe County.

Progress Made/News

  • The Committee has recently completed the creation of a Memorandum of Understanding to formalize and guide its activities in the future.
  • One of the most significant outcomes of the Committee includes the recent partnership agreement between the United Way of Santa Fe County (UWSFC) and the Santa Fe Public Schools (SFPS) to create the Santa Fe Early Learning Center at Agua Fria and the Santa Fe Early Learning Center at KauneThe Centers will serve Santa Fe’s most vulnerable children and their families in a full-day, full-year facility.  The Centers will also serve as a hub for Santa Fe County – and the state – to demonstrate how to maximize the impact of services and programs in early childhood through the provision of the best practices supported by the best research.
  • The Committee engaged in a Result-based Accountability (RBA) planning process to define its ends, develop concrete outcome indicators, discover “turn the curve” strategies, and create an action plan.  
  • Currently, the ECSC is focused on creating a county-wide shared data collection system through the work of the Healthy Babies Data Team and the Kindergarten Readiness Data Team.
  • The work of the ECSC this coming year – through the two Data Teams identified above – will support the following implementation priorities of the Santa Fe Collective Action Plan:
    • 4.2 Develop a coordinated data collection and reporting system for prenatal care, including potential common intake form/questions at hospitals/centers.
    • 4.3 Develop a coordinated prenatal outreach plan to reach 100% of families who have a child born in Santa Fe County. Review intake form & reporting data and share learning across programs to identify priority target outreach and actions needed.
    • 6.4 Collect and analyze Early Childhood/PreK programs to K-3 student transitional outcomes data; use findings to improve early childhood education with feedback and professional development; develop system for on-going data collection/analysis.

In brief, the work of the Healthy Babies Data Team will be to thoroughly survey the existing intake and discharge data available to partner organizations (and other clinics in Santa Fe County) and formulate a set of common questions and data points that could provide us greater insight into the risk factors in the population for adverse birth outcomes. The Team will work toward the creation and adoption of a common form and/or set of questions so that we can use the data collected to improve both our outreach efforts and our support programs to address these at-risk factors.

The Kindergarten Readiness Data Team will focus on the creation and adoption of a better measuring tool to predict kindergarten readiness. The only objective tool widely in use currently is the DIBELS, which all participants agree is too narrowly focused on simple phonic recognition and does not capture the strengths, knowledge, and characteristics a child needs to develop to succeed in school. The Team will work with the state – which is conducting a pilot of a new, more robust tool – and then make recommendations for using the tool to provide us with feedback on how our current and future, early education programs are succeeding or failing to adequately prepare our children for success.

Lead Convener: United Way of Santa Fe County
Other Core Team Members including Two Data Teams: Santa Fe Public School; Presbyterian Medical Services; CHRISTUS St. Vincent Regional Medical Center; Santa Fe Community College; Santa Fe County Community Services Department; City of Santa Fe Children and Youth Commission; Santa Fe Community Foundation; La Familia Medical Center, Las Cumbres Community Services, SVH Support

Contact Information

United Way of Santa Fe County, Katherine Freeman, KatherineF@uwsfc.org