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  • Writer's picturePhilip Dixon

Taly Aims to Disrupt

Updated: Apr 8, 2019

Jill & Phil Dixon, Taly Founders
Jill and Phil Dixon, Taly founders and self-imposed disrupters

Taly’s model enables more children to attend preschool, while increasing the quality of preschools enrolling these children and helping the families increase their financial independence so they can maintain their child’s enrollment until Kindergarten. Here’s how our model works:

First, we identify preschool directors who are doing lots of things right, and would still love to improve. Taly contracts with those preschools to scholarship children, filling empty seats or expanding their program. In exchange, the center agrees to a series of assessments and observations. The center director commits to achieving and maintaining a level of quality as measured by an independent assessor using ECERS-3 (Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scale) and CLASS (Classroom Assessment Scoring System) standards as a baseline. Taly takes these assessments and works with the center to build a quality improvement plan. We subsidize professional development for the teachers and work with the center director to achieve quality standards. While amazingly simple, measuring quality, setting a goal, and executing against an improvement plan really works.

To fill the preschool’s seats, we tap into the large population of families who qualify for state aid and are either unaware of it or who are on the waiting list to receive financial support. Taly contracts with the families to provide financial support in exchange for their participation in our program. Families agree to have their child’s progress regularly assessed by their teachers and participate in educational workshops at the school several times a year. Most importantly, they commit to a high level of attendance for their child, which is important to ensure the child is benefitting fully from the program, but also to give the parents or guardians the time needed to attend school or maintain employment. If at any point during the program the family receives state aid and no longer needs Taly’s scholarship, they remain enrolled in the preschool program, and Taly is able to scholarship a new child. This alignment with the state’s voucher program ensures that we are collectively maximizing the number of children benefiting from preschool.

When a family has access to full-day, year-round preschool for their child, the parents are able to return to the workforce, reduce their dependence on social assistance, and break the cycle of poverty. In addition, increasing the earning potential of the family allows Taly to lower the scholarship rate in the second year of the program because parents are able to increase their contribution to their child’s tuition bill, which in turn allows us to expand the program and enroll more children. Everyone wins!

Through our work, we are infusing the early childhood space with new ideas and best practices. Taly aims to disrupt the existing and accepted early education model to effect true, systemic change and create positive and lasting impact for current a

d future generations.

Simple, right? So, what’s left to do? Well, this is just the foundation of our work. You can check out the other problems we are tackling in ‘Digging In’.


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