2020–2022 Trying Together Community Report

Supporting the work of early childhood

Strategic Goals:
Progress in Context

In 2018, Trying Together launched its Strategic Roadmap. As the end of 2022 approaches, Trying Together reflects on the significant progress that was made in achieving its goals, instances where it was necessary to pivot and reprioritize to meet the needs of children, families, and educators, and opportunities to expand upon this work in 2023 and beyond.

Strategic Goal

A national leader offering its expertise in coordinating and connecting systems at the neighborhood, local, and regional levels to support early childhood development and early learning.

When grownups and children are trying together, just about anything can be possible.

- Fred Rogers

This quote from the television personality and well-known advocate for early childhood education continues to be a founding inspiration for Trying Together’s vision and mission through our work with early care and education professionals, families, and other individuals. The theme of “togetherness” has also shaped the strategic work in establishing Trying Together as a convener of change for early learning environments in these communities, with a physical presence in Homewood and collaborative partnerships with individuals and organizations in East Liberty, Hazelwood, Hill District, Northside, and Wilkinsburg.

From 2020 through 2022 with the support of its community partners, Trying Together:

unique inquiries for assistance were received by the Rapid Response Team since its launch in January 2022.
students were provided with care and education by Community Learning Hubs.
BUZZ Boxes distributed by Buzzword to families to support their young children’s early literacy development.

Strategic Goal

The premier provider of in-person and online professional growth opportunities for home, center, and school-based professionals to ensure that every child has access to high-quality early childhood and early learning experiences.

As the quality partner of the ELRC Region 5 for three years, the Trying Together Quality Coaches, Early Learning Program Engagement Specialists (ELPES), Leadership Development Strategist, and Everyday Interactions Matter Strategist have supported quality improvements for more than 600 licensed child care providers throughout Allegheny County.

  • Between July 2020 and June 2022, 49 child care providers have made positive movement in Keystone STARS.
  • From July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2022, ELPES had 8,014 total contacts with relative care providers mainly relating to CARES stimulus funding, payment/invoice issues, the enrollment and application process, and assistance with clearances.

To support the learning and career advancement of early learning professionals, Trying Together offers a combination of in-person and virtual courses, coaching, and mentoring. Made possible by PNC Grow Up Great, Trying Together hosts innovative, hands-on professional growth UnConferences centered on a range of early childhood themes and topics. Hosted virtually, UnConferences over the past two years have discussed inclusion, trauma-informed care, self-care for ECE professionals, and the impact of COVID-19 on child care, and served 916 participants.

professional development events
early care professionals supported by the Professional Development Organization

Strategic Goal

A "go-to source" for families to aid them in making well-informed decisions regarding their child’s early experiences.

Since 2020, Trying Together has:

Strategic Goal

An expert policy resource in Western Pennsylvania and a leading advocate for high-quality early care and education in the state, mobilizing its network to take action on issues important to young children and their families.

Since 2020, Trying Together has:

  • Released its third Public Policy Agenda (PDF) with a sharpened focus on justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion. The policy agenda prioritized fair, just, and inclusive practices, resulting in a stronger vision for Trying Together’s policy efforts, particularly in elevating the early childhood workforce.
  • Released the Elevating the Early Childhood Workforce (PDF) report that highlights the historical and current context for the underinvestment and undervaluing of the early childhood field.
  • Created the Early Childhood Funding Map, which provides an overview of the complex early childhood system of programs and funding streams, and illustrates how public investments flow from the federal and state levels to early childhood programs.
in federal relief
pre-k investment
in increased state funding for child care