Greater East St. Louis, IL

Greater East St. Louis

Engaging in EDI

The East St. Louis School District 189 led the Early Development Instrument implementation in partnership with Erikson Institute, and on behalf of the Greater East St. Louis Early Learning Partnership. The EDI Pilot Team included cross-sector stakeholders and representation from cradle-to-career collaborations that support the work of East Side Aligned, a collective impact effort.  

The EDI partners in Greater East St. Louis initiated various efforts related to increasing program quality, centralizing enrollment intake, recognizing parents as leaders in their community, and workforce development. They felt the EDI would provide valuable insight to support these initiatives and provide some insight on the community’s complex problems related to access, coordination, quality, responsiveness, and equity. “We are proud of our progress with current initiatives. EDI will help us continue to imagine what might be possible.”  

District 189 has seen first-hand the impact of improved systems to recruit, screen, educate and support young children and their families. Momentum and commitment has been building within the community and stakeholders are ready to tackle the complex problems within the community. The collective impact process and the tools available through ABLe Change keeps stakeholders engaged around the table and working to ensure all children enter school kindergarten ready.   

The EDI provides insights to further support and align early learning collaboration. EDI trend data will yield new information that will enable deeper analysis of data around school readiness. The data will inform strategies that will further support prevention and promotion.   

“It will help us identify where we need strategy design, how to improve instructional quality in early childhood and Kindergarten to accommodate skill gaps for young children across the five key domains and measure the results of our work at the 3rd grade level to assess fade-out of our efforts.  

This data may also bring non-traditional partners to the table to support our work and help us tell our community’s story, which may bring additional resources to early childhood education. We are hopeful that the EDI instrument will provide key information that our cross-sector partnership can use to improve child outcomes within Greater East St. Louis.”  

Note: Information provided by Greater East St. Louis Early Learning Partnership & Innovation Zone Request for Proposal application to Erikson Institute (2016). 


Naming the Neighborhoods

For the purposes of the EDI Pilot Project, a “neighborhood” is defined as a distinct and relatively small geographic area that community members recognize as their neighborhood. A neighborhood is often bound by some level of social interaction and shared institutions. Census tracts are utilized because they cover the entire geographic area and support the identification of neighborhoods. Census tracts provide consistency and:

  • They are small enough to be aggregated into neighborhoods that resonate with local residents​;
  • They can be used to track data trends throughout the life of community-level plans; and
  • This unit of analysis is used for numerous community indicators, which can be essential for effective planning and evaluation of activities.

The Pilot Team for the Greater East St. Louis Early Development Instrument pilot project met on three separate occasions from September 2017-June 2018 to construct the criteria and build consensus to finalize the names of neighborhoods in the defined community area.

During these meetings, the team was given static maps to identify the names of neighborhoods. Through a relationship with a stakeholder, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) geospatial mapping technology was utilized to electronically enlarge the maps and identify physical landmarks.  The team engaged residents- including school bus drivers, police, peer advocacy agencies, parents and grandparents- who knew the neighborhoods to help determine name and boundaries, along with social service agencies and other stakeholders.

Initially, the team made the choice to use census block groups, which generally contain between 600 and 3,000 people, with an optimum size of 1,500 people. Each census tract contains at least one block group, and block groups are uniquely numbered within the census tract. A block group is the smallest geographical unit for which the census publishes sample data. Once children were geocoded to the map, the Pilot Team was then able to determine if preliminary neighborhood boundaries in each area met the minimum threshold of at least 10 students. Through this process it was determined that some blocks would be combined into census tracts. Some neighborhoods remained in census blocks because there had been specific programming and other resources directed to those blocks and the team wanted to have more nuanced data to consider community changes made over time.  

The discussions led to the following criteria for determining names:

  • Some streets did not have visible or obvious names, so landmarks or physical features were utilized as the name of certain neighborhoods.
  • School names were not used to identify a neighborhood because the EDI is meant to situate children within the context of their neighborhood and inspire broader, community-wide responsibility for addressing vulnerability.
  • Any neighborhood that included a housing development would be named after the development. 

The final Neighborhoods Names were decided upon:

East Side
25th Street
Frank Holten
Caseville Ave.
Driver’s License Facility
Wyvetter Younge
Griffin Homes
Lincoln Middle School
John DeShields
John Robinson
Emerson Park
Rush City/South End
Phoenix Court
Washington Park
Mount Sinai Village


Community Metadata

To download a PDF of the metadata document for Greater East St. Louis' EDI implementation in 2016, click here.

Community Contact

For more information on Greater East St. Louis, contact:

Janice Moenster (Children's Home and Aid)
800-467-9200, Ext. 335