Building Bright Futures’ Strategic Plan FY18

Sarah Squirrell, Executive Director of Building Bright Futures (BBF) presented an FY2018 organizational strategic plan to the State Advisory Council (SAC) on May 22nd.

After reminding the SAC of BBF’s responsibilities, charge, mission, duties and powers, Sarah presented the strategic successes from the previous fiscal year. These included the following:

Budget: Implemented a phased budget and laid the groundwork for sustainability.

State Advisory Council: Implemented an annual calendar and focused our work in key early childhood priority areas that led to advanced visibility and credibility of BBF.

Regional Councils: Reduced regional council budgets considerably, four coordination pilots began, and regional council leadership co-created a vision and goals for FY2017.

ECAP: Formed a leadership committee of co-chairs, hired a strategic consultant who helped lead us towards an ECAP implementation cycle in July, and realized funding for an ECAP coordinator in Fiscal year 2018.

Vermont Insights: Developed and implemented a business plan for VI while also implementing a reduced operational budget.

As for Fiscal year 2018, Sarah presented six strategic priorities:

  • Strategic Financial Plan – Convening the Executive Committee and Finance Committees to develop a five-year strategic financial plan to ensure fiscal responsibility and success beyond the sunset of our Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge grant funds.

  • State Advisory Council | Mission, Vision & Goals | ACT 104 – Support and empower the SAC to be active change agents and partners in executing the duties and powers as charged in ACT 104.

  • Early Childhood Action Plan – Launch the new Early Learning Action Plan Implementation Cycle to create statewide priorities and actions that drive policy and practice recommendations.

  • Vermont Insights – Continue to build the strategic business plan and model for Vermont Insights to promote access and use of early childhood data.

  • Accountability & Reporting – Clearly define and develop accountability metrics, results and performance measures to demonstrate impact at the state and community level.

  • Regional Councils & Coordination – Work strategically with Regional Councils, Regional Council Leaders, and Regional Coordinators to link and bind the work of the SAC and the regional councils, further clarify the role of coordinators, and develop trusting and value-added relationships.

Carolyn Wesley, Deputy Director of BBF, then walked the SAC through a proposed Feedback Loop to ensure a constant flow of information and understanding between the SAC, regional coordinators, and state partners.

Carolyn acknowledged that BBF has a great infrastructure in place; but that we need to best determine how to make use of it and to allow every member of BBF councils to feel like a part of a collective, statewide network with a common goal. The feedback loop can address these goals while acting on the guiding principle of collective impact, collaboration and alignment, diverse voices, collective priority setting and decision-making.

Priorities will be set annually for each Vermont region using Action Plans and available data. Input from the SAC, regions, and BBF Action Plan Committees will all be considered. The SAC will then gather regional input when drafting recommendations to the administration and legislature.

Another key element of the feedback loop is that a region may ask the SAC to take up a topic that needs statewide strategy and response. Likewise, the SAC may wish to gather regional perspective on a statewide issue. The Executive Director, Deputy Director, Regional Coordinators, and Executive Committee will then compile these requests and determine how to move forward with a timeline, venue, structure, and discussion plan.

Sarah then walked the SAC through an outline of what success looks like for BBF:

  • BBF understands its role, value, and work as a backbone organization.
  • BBF gains and maintains stronger partnerships, collaboration, and action towards shared goals and priorities.
  • All BBF members see themselves as part of a statewide network and system.
  • Regional councils feel supported and strengthened by BBF.
  • The SAC is active and engaged in collective work to improve early childhood systems.

The SAC was excited for what was presented in the FY18 strategic plan but noted that we will need to be mindful of BBF’s resources and capacity to take on this critical work and continue it into the future.

After the conclusion of this discussion, the SAC unanimously voted to pass the FY18 Strategic Plan.

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