Each Educare center is a private-public collaboration that brings together a philanthropic leader or leaders to spearhead the capital campaign, a programmatic provider of Head Start and Early Head Start services to implement the core components of the Educare model, and a public school or district to provide land and other supports. Together, these partners share in Educare’s governance.
The Ounce of Prevention Fund, along with the Irving Harris Foundation, opened the first Educare School in Chicago in 2000. In 2003, the Buffett Early Childhood Fund and the Omaha Public Schools opened the second Educare School on Omaha’s north side. Soon after, the Buffett Early Childhood Fund and Ounce of Prevention Fund joined forces to support other local public-private partnerships in communities across the country to establish Educare Schools.
Tulsa Educare, Inc. was formed in 2004 as a cooperative effort between public entities and private donors, led by local businessman George Kaiser. By establishing a state-of-the-art facility on the grounds of a heavily attended, high-performing elementary school in neighborhoods of “at risk” children, Tulsa Educare has sent a strong message to the community: learning begins at birth. Similarly, by forming essential partnerships, Educare became a trusted source for early education and family support in each of the beleaguered neighborhoods in which it resides.
A sound organization with numerous community partners from multiple sectors, Tulsa Educare is this community’s best example of public-private partnership. It has enjoyed significant, long-standing private investment and oversight from the George Kaiser Family Foundation, perhaps the country’s largest philanthropic entity dedicated primarily to improving the quality of early childhood education, and a successful history serving children six weeks to kindergarten transition.
The result of an innovative partnership between public and private entities, Tulsa Educare is now at the forefront of one of the most promising endeavors in the nation to develop a working model that can alleviate poverty. By combining best practices in early childhood education and collaborative partnerships with Tulsa Public Schools, George Kaiser Family Foundation, Early Head Start, University of Oklahoma-Tulsa, State Department of Education, Department of Human Services, and Community Action Project State Pilot Program, Tulsa Educare is able to enhance the early learning curriculum with wrap-around family engagement services such as parental education classes, health promotions, crisis intervention and counseling, medical care, and asset building programs.
The first Tulsa Educare-Kendall Whittier opened its doors in August of 2006 and serves 200 children. Tulsa Educare-Hawthorne opened in February of 2010 and serves 164 children, while Tulsa Educare-MacArthur will open in the fall of 2012 and serve 164 children. Tulsa is the first city in the country with three Educare schools and Oklahoma is the first state with four Educare schools (one in Oklahoma City). There are currently 13 operating Educare schools in the United States.
- George Kaiser Family Foundation
- Tulsa Public Schools
- State Department of Education
- Department of Human Services
- University of Oklahoma
- Tulsa Children Project
- Early Childhood BA program
- School of Community Medicine
- Community Action Project-State Pilot Project
- Sooner Start
- Educare Learning Network
- Buffet Early Learning Fund
- Frank Porter Graham at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
- Health and Human Services-Office of Head Start
- Department of Education
- West Ed-Program for Infants & Toddlers
- National Association for the Education of Young Children