How can data improve school readiness for children under six in a complex urban environment? Miami-Dade is the nation’s eighth most populous county with a population of almost 2.5 million.  Of the 180,000 children under age six, two thirds are foreign born or have at least one foreign born parent, and 67% of youth between ages 5 and 17 speak a language other than English at home. The county’s poverty rate stands at 18%, above the state and national averages (15% and 14%), but among children under age six 24% live in poverty and 46% live below 185% of the poverty level. And these children are served by a variety of public systems, each with their own data systems.

In this challenging context, the partnership obtained a research grant from the federal Institute for Education Sciences in 2014 in order to get a larger picture of needs and potential solutions.   The group began by conducting a survey of needs to assess children’s readiness for learning in public schools.  The more challenging task was to clean, link, and analyze a dozen sets of data including administrative data from each of the partner agencies, in order to answer the group’s shared questions.  All data in the Integrated Data System are kept secure and aggregated before release, in compliance with all laws and regulations, and no personally identifiable data is released across partner agencies or to the public.  The findings will be posted below as they are vetted and made available.