Delta-Schoolcraft Great Start

Delta-Schoolcraft Great Start Collaborative

legs of child in red rubber boots jumping in the autumn puddles

The first five years of a child’s life are a time of great opportunity. Research tells us that quality early learning experiences and environments directly impact children’s success in school and beyond. Well-prepared children strengthen the community socially, emotionally, and economically. Today’s children are tomorrow’s workers, parents and leaders. Investing in our future means giving our children a “Great Start.”

The Delta-Schoolcraft Great Start Collaborative (DSCGSC) is a partnership of community leaders, healthcare professionals, human services agencies, charitable and faith-based organizations, educators, and parents. The DSGSC is dedicated to establishing and maintaining a comprehensive early childhood system. The goal of the Collaborative is to provide a network of support and resources for children and their families to ensure children enter kindergarten ready and eager to learn.

Delta-Schoolcraft Great Start Collaborative Strategic Plan

Every three to five years the DSGSC goes through a strategic planning process to guide the work of the early childhood network in our two-county area. This work is directed through the Office of Great Start under the Michigan Department of Lifelong Education, Advancement, and Potential. Our efforts are guided by Michigan's Early Childhood Outcomes:

  • Children are born healthy.
  • Children are healthy, thriving, and developmentally on track from birth to third grade.
  • Children are developmentally ready to succeed in school at time of school entry.
  • Children are prepared to succeed in fourth grade and beyond by reading proficiently by the end of third grade.

An Early Childhood Assessment is conducted to determine the needs and strengths of the current system. The assessment process reviews local and state level quantitative data as well as qualitative data gathered through local surveys and focus groups. The process identifies the needs, strategies, and actions to be targeted over the next several years.

Through this process, the Great Start Collaborative identifies themes regarding the needs of the early childhood system. This process leads to the development of three to five year goals.

The following are the goals from the Strategic Plan for 2015-2018:


Goal 1: Families have access to high-quality services and resources to utilize them.

Goal 2: Conditions in the system support providers and agencies.

Goal 3: Children have support and preparation to transition to kindergarten.

Goal 4: Services reflect the input of families and providers.


View the Action Agenda of our current Strategic Plan.

View the strategic plan details.

The Delta-Schoolcraft Great Start Collaborative Operating Guidelines were adopted by consensus of the members. The Operating Guidelines are reviewed and updated annually.

View Operating Guidelines


For more information about Great Start please contact:

Ashley Aaron
Delta-Schoolcraft Great Start Collaborative Co-Director/Early Childhood Coordinator
Delta-Schoolcraft ISD
2525 3rd Ave South
Escanaba, MI 49829

906-786-9300 x115

Laurie Mold
Delta-Schoolcraft Great Start Collaborative Co-Director/ Lead Parent Liaison
Delta-Schoolcraft ISD
2525 3rd Ave South
Escanaba, MI 49829

906-786-9300 x111

Great Start Family Coalitions

The Great Start Collaborative supports a local network of parents and caregivers that provide input and assistance in accomplishing the goals of the Great Start Collaborative. The Great Start Family Coalition works to raise community awareness about the importance of early childhood in addition to providing parenting information, social connections, and community resources to families.

Delta-Schoolcraft Great Start Family Liaisons

Laurie Mold-Delta Contact
906-786-9300 ext 111

Ashley Watkins-Schoolcraft Contact


Great Start Growing Families
Home Visiting Program

Children come into this world ready for love and learning. You are your child’s first and most influential teacher. Our program uses the Parents as Teachers curriculum to inform, support, and encourage parents in this important role. Parents as Teachers has a vision: that all children will grow and develop to reach their full potential. Our parent educator will partner with you to focus on your child’s healthy growth and development. A parent educator will personalize information to fit with your family’s needs, concerns, and hopes. Together you will discuss goals for you as a parent and for your child.

You will build on your strengths and skills through: 

Personal Visits - with a parent educator who is knowledgeable about child development and brain research, will help you understand what to expect as your child grows and offer practical suggestions on encouraging learning as well as managing challenging behavior.

Group Meetings - allow you to meet with other parents to gain new insights, share experiences, and discuss parenting topics.

Play Groups - opportunities for parent and child interaction and socialization with other families. Facilitated play time! 

Screenings & Assessments - administered periodically by a parent educator to help assess your child's overall development.

Connections with Community Resources - link your family to area resources and services.

The focus for our Home Visiting program is on:

 Parent-Child Interaction

The love you have for your child and your warm, responsive interactions support her trust in this new, wonderful world. With your love and interactions, she will grow and thrive.


Development-Centered Parenting

Share what you see your child doing. Your parent educator will help connect those behaviors and actions to what is happening in your child’s development.


Family Well-Being

You are building a healthy, nurturing environment for your child. Your parent educator is there to broaden your knowledge as you make decisions for your child and family. Services are available to all families with children from birth to 60 months who reside in Delta or Schoolcraft County, based on availability and program qualification.


Call 906-786-9300 ext 116 to enroll today!

You and your child deserve the support. Give your child the best possible start in life!


Download our Growing Families brochure