The State Advisory Council Meeting Recap – July 24th, 2017

The July 24th State Advisory Council (SAC) meeting took place at the Vermont State House in Montpelier, VT in Room 11 between 11:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m.

Sarah Squirrell, Executive Director of Building Bright Futures (BBF) welcomed the SAC to the meeting, a quick round of introductions was made, and the minutes from the previous meeting in May were accepted.

The SAC briefly reviewed upcoming SAC meeting dates and priority discussion areas for the 2017-2018 year. The next two meetings will take place on September 25th, 2017, and on November 27th, 2017, with tentative data review and analysis related to new priority areas that will be identified at a later date, and also the How Are Vermont’s Young Children & Families report.

Sarah then shared a PowerPoint presentation that detailed the “Build our Future” initiative, which BBF and the Permanent Fund have begun work on. This initiative comes from the recommendations the Blue Ribbon Commission developed last year. The Commission’s report revealed that Vermont needs to increase investments in the state’s early care and learning system, and tasked BBF to take the next steps by bringing partners together to design a system of early care and learning that will allow us to maximize investments and work in an innovative and collaborative way.

The goal is to build the blueprint for the way Vermont delivers, funds and governs early care and education and to then present this design to the Legislature at the start of their session in January 2018. Particular areas of opportunity for this design include coordinating comprehensive services, exploring K-12 and community infrastructure, reducing barriers and ensuring equity, and maximizing support for early childhood professionals

After the presentation, conversation unfolded regarding this process, which was largely positive. The SAC felt that this was an incredible opportunity to move our work from vision to action by providing a true deliverable to the Legislature.

The council discussed that, while this initiative is focused on the early care and education system from birth to five, we need to plan for a seamless system that is continuous and supports children and families across the spectrum from pre-natal to age eight. This includes making sure that the frame of our messaging is clear, and keeping our eyes on both “one piece” and “the whole” at the same time in system design to ensure that one does not eclipse the other.

Building Bright Futures and the Permanent Fund are currently leading a community outreach effort to gather stakeholder input on the design process. A design summit will be held in October 2017. For more information, and to contact Building Bright Futures about the design process, visit

Julie Cadwallader Staub then presented an update on the Early Learning Challenge Grant and on the application for a fifth year extension of the federal grant.

The Early Childhood Action Plan Implementation Cycle Launch followed the SAC meeting from 12:00 – 4:00 p.m. in the Vermont State House cafeteria. A recap of that event will be shared in the next few weeks.

The next State Advisory Council meeting will take place on Monday, September 25th, 2017.

To help close the feedback loop between our regional councils and our State Advisory Council, our Regional Coordinators have each developed a recap of the work and discussions they have been working on since the last SAC meeting on May 22nd, 2017. To learn more about what has been happening on the regional level, click on the links below:



Caledonia & Southern Essex

Central Vermont


Franklin / Grand Isle


Northern Windsor & Orange

Orleans & Northern Essex


Southeast Vermont


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