Health & Human Services Committee
Topic: Why Every Business & Resident in PBC Should be an Avid Early Learning Champion?
- What is Early Learning?
- What’s at stake?
- How the Early Learning Coalition helps and serves the community?
- Where do we go from here?
- How can businesses & residents help?
Director of Communication
Megan Kossove is an experienced communications and public relations professional with a demonstrated history of working in the public sector and serving the people of the State of Florida.
Megan’s passion for public service can be traced back to her time as an aide in the Florida Legislature. Megan served for more than seven years as Legislative Assistant to Senator and eventually Senate President Jeff Atwater. Continuing her public service journey, Megan had the high honor to serve as Chief of Staff to Chairwoman Lizbeth Benacquisto in the Florida Senate. She also has municipal and state campaign experience that fostered lifelong skills, including endurance, persistence, tenacity, and adaptability.
As the Director of Communication at the Early Learning Coalition of Palm Beach County, her passion is centered around giving every child the very best start at life and advancing early learning opportunities for all children.
Early learning is near and dear to her heart. As a mom of three young children, Megan stays busy as a mom, wife, and business professional. In her free time, you can find Megan enjoying the crystal blue waters off the coast of Jupiter, Florida, with her family and friends.
Director of Family Engagement and Family Services
Wanda Figueroa is on a mission to help young children and families live their best lives.
Wanda is the Director of Family Engagement at the Early Learning Coalition in Plam Beach County, who oversees the Child Care Resources and Referral (CCR&R), Early Intervention, and Family and Community Engagement Programs. Wanda holds a bachelor's and a master's degree in social work from the University of Puerto Rico and has over 15 years of experience in meeting families' needs.
Before becoming a Director, Wanda served as a Child Care Resources and Referral Specialist for ten years, and as a CCR&R Manager, she was responsible for the design and implementation of the Coalition's Call Center. During the pandemic, the Early Learning Coalition's Call Center received over 198,000 calls.
Wanda's passion and vision for providing support to families to ensure that every child is ready to succeed in school and life are infectious. This enthusiasm led to the creation of a Family Engagement program with a primary goal of equipping parents to serve as their child's primary teacher. Wanda strongly believes that children do better at school when parents or caregivers and engage in their education, which is at the heart of the mission at the Early Learning Coalition of Palm Beach County.
ABOUT THE COALITION
Every child in Palm Beach County is Ready to Succeed in School and Life.
Building community-wide commitment for comprehensive, high-quality early learning environments that benefit the children and families of Palm Beach County.
For years, Florida was challenged with providing superior early childhood education to help children be prepared for kindergarten.
As a result of this challenge, in 1999, the Legislature enacted the School Readiness Act (s. 411.01, F.S.), which consolidated each of the early childhood education and childcare programs across the state into one integrated program of school readiness services. Specifically, the act created the Florida Partnership for School Readiness to coordinate school readiness programs administered by local school readiness coalitions at the county or multi-county level. School readiness programs were charged with (but not limited to) overseeing adherence to the following:
Implementation of a developmentally-appropriate curriculum;
Assurance of appropriate staff-to-children ratio; and
Providing parents with information to assist them in the process of choosing a high-quality early learning program within one of the Coalition's contracted child care providers.
The Palm Beach County School Readiness Coalition was incorporated in 1999 and submitted its School Readiness Plan in 2000. In 2005, the Legislature changed the School Readiness Coalition to the Early Learning Coalition and added the administration of the Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) program as a function of the Coalition.
VPK is a statewide kindergarten-preparatory program that is free to Florida residents. The VPK program was designed to enhance each child’s ability to make age-appropriate progress in the development of language and cognitive capabilities through education in basic skills.
Today, in Palm Beach County, and across the state, the delivery system for School Readiness program is comprised of child care providers, family child care homes, faith-based providers, as well as School District sites operated by the School District of Palm Beach County. School Readiness programs are funded through a mixture of state and federal funds, as outlined and mandated in Chapter 1002.83, Florida Statutes.