MU hosts childhood advancement symposium

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COLUMBIA - The Cradle to Career Alliance hosted a symposium Saturday on what strategies they recommend to help increase your child's chances of success.

The MU campus hosted the discussion, and those in attendance got the chance to ask questions to a roundtable of childhood development scholars.

According to Tom Rose, Chair of the Boone County Cradle to Career Alliance, "The alliance organized the event to kind of look at some of the factors that are associated with some of the disparities that we see in our student achievement." 

Cradle to Career is an Alliance that attempts to review childhood achievement data, and develops strategies that maximize a child's potential. They also look to limit the barriers and factors that can contribute to limiting a child's chances.

"It was deciding how we as a community could come together, and seek out and adapt best practices, then use our data for continuous improvement," Rose said.

Rose mentioned race and poverty as two contributing factors that make an impact on the rate at which a child will achieve. He said this symposium gave the alliance a chance to have an honest discussion with the community on strategies to address these challenges.

"Having the people who are working with these children everyday informed about the cultural differences and the challenges that each of these children might face in their families and in their own life, and then having strategies to address that," Rose said.

Nikki McGruder, a leader in the Boone County Journey towards Inclusive Excellence, said discussions like these are crucial, because it allows people to talk and understand uncomfortable racial and cultural topics that affect a child's success.

"We have to have conversations about why not all of our children are achieving at the same levels and looking very closely into the different variables that impact that," McGruder said.

Rose said if we do not have discussions like this later in life, if the rate of childhood achievement is low, it can play a major role in poor economic development, higher crime rates, and higher poverty and unemployment rates.

"Those students that have these barriers to achievement, that have these barriers to social and emotional development, we know what kind of burden that will be on society," he said.

By focusing on the development of a child now, and discussing a variety of topics affecting their success, Rose said the community can have a brighter future. 

"It does make a difference, we should be concerned with how our students achieve," Rose said.

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