Smart Start Central Oklahoma Inc.

Oklahoma City, OK   |  https://smartstartcentraloklahoma.org/

Mission

Our mission is to build a community that supports parents and caregivers as a child's first and most influential teacher.

Ruling year info

2003

Executive Director

Mrs. Sandy Cotton

Main address

PO Box 21505

Oklahoma City, OK 73156 USA

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Formerly known as

Success by Six

EIN

42-1593360

NTEE code info

Remedial Reading, Reading Encouragement (B92)

Children's and Youth Services (P30)

Family Services (P40)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Our vision is for all children in central Oklahoma to start school safe, healthy, eager to learn, and ready to succeed. Unfortunately, this is not the case for far too many children in our community. The first five years in a child’s life are crucial to their future success in school and in life. In fact, 95% of brain development occurs in the first five years of life. Children need opportunities for quality early learning experiences and safe, nurturing relationships with caregivers. Families need support to help their children thrive. Research shows that by the time children enter kindergarten, a tremendous difference already exists between students who have had positive early learning experiences and those who have not—and only one in seven children who start school behind will catch up to their peers.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Early Birds

Early Birds is a free school readiness program for parents-to-be and parents of children from birth to five that is designed to give parents the tools and resources they need to prepare their children for school. Parents attend 90-minute classes three times per year in the fall, winter, and spring. Early Birds covers five core areas: developmental milestones, parent/child activities, everyday learning, purposeful parenting, and family health and wellness. Parents receive activities, educational toys, and books to stimulate their child’s development and learning. Early Birds supports parents in their role as their child's first and most influential teacher. For more information, visit earlybirdsok.org.

Population(s) Served
Families
Infants and toddlers

Where we work

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Smart Start Central Oklahoma's primary goal is to prepare children for success in school. Engaging with children during the first five years of life is critical to the future success of the child. Research shows that when investments are made in early childhood education, the community benefits in reduced expenditures on remediation, teen pregnancy, incarceration, and public assistance.

Early Birds is a free support and school readiness program for anyone caring for children from birth to five including parents, grandparents, foster parents, and childcare providers. Although the majority of Smart Start families are low-income, we do not have program eligibility requirements. We have seen that programs work best when parents from diverse backgrounds can come together and share their experiences.

Expecting families attend a prenatal class, and then parents and caregivers attend classes three times per year based on their child's age. This is a total series of 16 classes, with follow-up support offered in between sessions. Each class lasts for 90 minutes and covers five core areas: developmental milestones, parent and child activities, everyday learning, purposeful parenting, and family health and wellness. Classes are available in both Spanish and English. Through Early Birds, parents are taught how to take advantage of teachable moments throughout the day. With each class, families receive kits filled with community resource information, activities, educational toys, and books to stimulate their child's development and learning. Early Birds promotes healthy parent-child relationships, provides children with positive early learning experiences, and supports parents as their child’s first and most influential teacher.

Smart Start has built a network of community partners including public school districts, other nonprofits, and federal and state agencies that work together to provide a holistic approach to serving families. Our partners provide meeting space and help market Smart Start programs to families needing support. Additionally, Smart Start serves as a clearinghouse for families looking for services and helps connect them to partners that can provide specialized help including food insecurity, housing needs, or healthcare services.

Smart Start is known as an expert in early childhood development with the resources to teach parents and caregivers how to build school-readiness skills in their children. We have a proven track record of helping young children living in Central Oklahoma achieve kindergarten benchmarks as assessed by public school faculty and staff.

Smart Start believes all children deserve access to quality early learning opportunities, no matter their situation. We are currently expanding to rural areas around the state to ensure that ALL children get a smart start in life.

Smart Start is forming partnerships with change-makers in new towns across Oklahoma in order to bring our parenting support and early childhood education programs to underserved regions of our state.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    Smart Start Central Oklahoma is a family engagement and support organization working to ensure Central Oklahoma's youngest children get the smart start they deserve. Smart Start’s focus is on children from prenatal to age eight, supporting influential individuals in young children’s lives such as parents, caregivers, older siblings, teachers, and childcare providers. Our mission is to build a community that equips parents and caregivers to serve as a child's first and most influential teacher.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys, Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Suggestion box/email,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    Due to the ongoing pandemic and health and safety concerns of our clients, we now provide both a virtual and in-person option for our Early Birds classes. This allows each family to decide the type of class they would like to take based on their personal health and safety concerns. Additionally, we have altered the start times for our virtual classes based on feedback received from participants.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    Our goal is to collaborate with parents and caregivers to help them understand the importance of making sure their children are ready for school and eager to learn. Studies show that children who begin kindergarten prepared are four times more likely to graduate high school than their peers who enter school with no previous educational experiences. Through open dialogue with the parents in our program, we have adapted our traditional in-person classroom model to a hybrid format which allows more families to participate at times more convenient to their schedules. We also take their suggestions into consideration when updating course curricula in order to meet the challenges facing families today.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    The people we serve tell us they find data collection burdensome, It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection,

Financials

Smart Start Central Oklahoma Inc.
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Smart Start Central Oklahoma Inc.

Board of directors
as of 03/10/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Anna Davis

Oklahoma City University

Term: 2020 - 2023

Steve Potts

Vice President of Finance, Potts Exploration, LLC

Macay Brummal

Devon

Natalie Jarred

Tulsa CARES

Mark Pogemiller

OU Children's Hospital

Maggie Lanier

Mullins Mullins Sexton & Reaves

Sarah Hall

Community Volunteer

Ali Wilson

American Fidelity

Stephen Brown

Bank of Oklahoma

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 2/17/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.

Equity strategies

Last updated: 11/01/2021

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.