COLUMBIA, Mo. - The Cradle to Career Alliance is part of a national network of more than 70 communities that use data to better understand and close education gaps within the local communities in Boone County.
Board members with the Cradle to Career Alliance met Thursday afternoon to discuss the importance of unifying to help children succeed in the classroom.
Gaining a compassionate understanding of a child's social-emotional development is important.
Crystal Kroner, a collaborative action network manager with Cradle to Career Alliance, said her duty is to pull together experts, parents and anyone who may be interested in finding solutions to improve the lives of children's.
On Feb. 24, the organization will be hosting an event called, "Being Part of the Solution! Understanding Links between Social-Emotional Development and Poverty."
Dr. Eric Pakulak, a director of the brain development lab at the University of Oregon will be sharing his findings on children's ability to focus. His research includes looking for ways to children overcome gaps.
Koster shared research findings from Dr. Pakulak:
"Children that grow up in poverty it's actually in their best interest to focus on distracters because there's a lot of -- I don't want to say chaos but things going on in the environment that make it actually in their best interest to stay alert and aware of all the things that are going on around them."
When such youth are asked to focus in a school environment, they are being asked to switch codes from what would be naturally easier for them, Koster said.
The goal of Cradle to Career alliance is for people to take time and think that just maybe they are misunderstanding children.
"Maybe we're misunderstanding that children aren't willfully trying not focus but that there is just a different way that their brains are learning to interact with their environments and they can absolutely unlearn," Koster said.
The organization said it is hopeful that the event in February and the group's continued efforts will help fill the gaps so that students can grow up and land successful careers.
"You don't need to be an expert. You don't have to have a Ph.D. Come on in if you are a parent or just an interested person in the community. I would love to have as many people's input, 'cause this is our community."
To attend the Cradle to Career Alliance's February 2018 symposium, you can click here.