Our History

Learn to Earn Dayton's beginning traces back to EDvention, an initiative launched by the Montgomery County Educational Service Center. Begun in 2007, EDvention was a collaborative aimed at improving science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) opportunities for young people.

In 2011, EDvention became Learn to Earn Dayton, expanding its focus beyond STEM and becoming Montgomery County's cradle-to-career initiative.

 

But even before there was Learn to Earn Dayton, the Montgomery County Commission and multiple Dayton-area philanthropic organizations recognized that to improve K-12 student achievement and educational attainment, our community needed to ensure more children start school ready to learn.

 

These leaders began investing in improving the early childhood education landscape, forming the Montgomery County Early Care & Education Initiative. ReadySetSoar was created as part of that work, and it focused exclusively on young children—improving their Kindergarten readiness and 3rd-grade reading proficiency.

 

For several years, Learn to Earn Dayton and ReadySetSoar worked side-by-side. Then, in 2015-2016, the organizations merged. Both organizations had embraced the collective impact model championed by the StriveTogether cradle-to-career network, which is dedicated to raising student achievement, beginning at birth and continuing until children are prepared for a career.

 

Yet another important transition occurred in 2016 when the City of Dayton made important history. Daytonians passed a 0.25% income tax increase to support critical city services and to offer 1 year of affordable, quality Preschool to all families of 4-year-olds.

 

Championed first by Montgomery County, Preschool Promise was institutionalized in the City of Dayton with sustained funding. The Dayton community was ready to make this bold leap after executing successful demonstration projects first in the suburb of Kettering, and then in Kettering and Northwest Dayton.

 

Because of the overwhelming support of Dayton voters—56% voted "yes" for Issue 9—Preschool Promise was expanded to all Dayton neighborhoods beginning in the 2017-18 school year.

 

In 2017, Preschool Promise became a stand-alone 501(c)(3) organization, and now is led by a 5-member board of directors. It is fiscally separate from Learn to Earn Dayton, though the two organizations are close partners.

 

Today, Learn to Earn Dayton is focused on promoting evidence-based practices that foster student success at critical junctures throughout children's education journey. Our work includes:
 

  • Ensuring equity for all through culturally responsive teaching and policies

  • Encouraging strong parenting of infants and toddlers

  • Promoting Kindergarten readiness

  • Improving 3rd-grade reading scores

  • Improving 8th-grade math proficiency

  • Reducing chronic absenteeism

  • Increasing quality summer and afterschool learning opportunities

  • Expanding career pathways

  • Increasing FAFSA completion rates

  • Fostering enrollment in college

  • Reducing "summer melt"

  • Increasing college degree and credential attainment
     

In all of our work, Learn to Earn Dayton is particularly focused on equity. Opportunity should not depend on what you look like or where you grow up. We work to identify and eliminate practices that perpetuate inequities, particularly for Black and Latinx students and students experiencing poverty.