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Looking Back on 2020

2020 Impact Report

Opening Letter from Director Dana Cilono,

This year has been one of hardship and loss, but also of innovation and awakening. The pandemic forced us to rethink traditional education and professional learning and innovate how we combat racial inequities. 

We’ve also learned that the SEEDS framework, rooted in relationships and capable of combating trauma, has maintained its effectiveness even through these times. Now, more than ever, SEEDS quality interactions are needed to support child and adult well-being and development. 

I am so grateful for the children and families we serve. They are resilient, resourceful, and powerful. I am grateful for the teachers, tutors, and organization leaders we work with. They care so deeply. I am grateful for the foundations and organizations that see our impact, trust our efforts, and support our work. I am grateful for a team that stands for our mission and lives SEEDS quality interactions every day.

I cannot wait for schools to reopen safely, and we commit to changing with the times to disrupting the “business as usual” approach that systematically maintains inequities. We are ready, 2021.

– Dana Cilono 


Looking back

The phrase 20/20 is often synonymous with perfect vision. One with 20/20 sight can see clearly the obstacles around them. The year 2020 highlighted distinctly the impediments facing our organization. This year was one for growth. A global pandemic and social and political unrest showed us where we could improve. SEEDS of Learning extended into the social sector to better serve our community by creating the 501(c)3 organization, FluentSeeds. While SEEDS of Learning remains to develop materials and products, FluentSeeds is now the sole professional development provider for the SEEDS frameworks. The shift to FluentSeeds allows us to reach a wider audience than ever before. 

Our Mission

At FluentSeeds, our mission is to make sure every child can read fluently by third grade, with mastery in the proven five essential components to reading: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.

FluentSeeds will reduce educational disparities through evidence-based professional development centered on the science of reading and paired with the quality interactions needed to bring the science of reading into daily routines. We provide a springboard for early childhood development that research has shown to be highly effective. Our programs for teachers and adult caregivers are proven to move students to identified kindergarten targets for later reading success.


Our vision is to ensure that: 

  • All children will be proficient, fluent readers by 3rd grade. 
  • All children will be socially and emotionally ready to engage with complex tasks and ideas by 3rd grade. 
  • All adults will be confident and capable of supporting children to reach these goals.


2020 Impact

Superstar Teachers

2020 began like any other year. We hit the ground running with our in-person SEEDS of Learning training sessions. We hosted dozens of in-person events before COVID-19 forced us to adapt the way we train. To ensure the safety of our participants and coaches, we shifted to virtual training sessions instead. SEEDS-CARES hosted 500 hours of virtual train the trainer sessions.

We are so proud of how hard our educators worked this year. In addition to creating online lesson plans, becoming masters of zoom, and so much more, educators continued to sow the seeds of success. FluentSeeds certified 86 trainers in the SEEDS of Learning framework. Our SEEDS certified Educators, rooted in FluentSeeds’ mission, will decrease the disparities in children’s literacy across the United States. 

Providing Resources


When COVID-19 forced schools into remote learning, FluentSeeds stepped in. The FluentSeeds team understood the financial implications the pandemic had on families in our community. With back to school shopping no longer possible for some, FluentSeeds showed support for the adjustment to distance learning. The FluentSeeds team distributed 700 SEEDS@HomeKits to families in the Oakland community. The SEEDS@HomeKits are full of literacy and math props typically found in a kindergarten classroom. Included are items such as glue sticks, pencils, books, and more. The kits ensure children still receive the tools necessary to support their learning from home. 


In addition to the lack of school supplies, many children and teachers could not connect virtually to their classrooms. Through the Kenneth Rainin Foundation’s financial support in Oakland, California, the FluentSeeds team purchased and distributed 305 tablets to FluentSeeds sites in the Oakland Unified School District. The tablets provided to the kindergarten students and teachers came equipped with 10 gigabytes of data per month to assist online learning difficulties.


New Programs
Dual Language PLC

When we found out virtual learning was sticking around, FluentSeeds implemented new ways to support our SEEDS certified educators. The FluentSeeds team created the first Dual Language Professional Learning Community (PLC). The Dual Language PLC is a group of SEEDS certified educators who work in dual immersion bilingual, multicultural classrooms. The educators meet to affirm, reflect, and support one another. The PLC focuses on ways to support multicultural and bilingual students. We hope to create more SEEDS Dual Language PLC’s in the future.

Parent Program

SEEDS of Parenting was developed in 2003. The program focused on supporting families with children ages 0-5 in SEEDS Quality Interactions and essential brain and skill development. This year, we launched a SEEDS of Parenting series for families with elementary-age children. The series combines the essential components of the existing Parenting program with the routines and strategies from our 3-5 program. Initial feedback has indicated that participating families valued strengthening their understanding of literacy development, connecting and sharing with other families, and discussing experiences and strategies for teacher-family communication.   

In Oakland, we partnered with Education for Change to offer three cohorts of five SEEDS of Parenting sessions – offered in both English and Spanish. We quickly filled all of our slots and look to find funding to meet the high demand. 

Develop Through Doing

Current projects
E-learning Module

To adapt to the fast-paced, digital age we now live in, SEEDS of Learning is creating an Electronic Learning Module with our First 5 Santa Clara Anchor. The E-Learning Module will allow participants to learn at their own pace on their own time. We are excited to make our frameworks more accessible for those who need a little more flexibility in their professional development endeavors. 

Anchor Organization Partnerships

Anchor Organizations are programs that support FluentSeeds’ mission by building internal capacity within their organization to provide the FluentSeeds frameworks to their community. The FluentSeeds Team works closely with anchor organizations to customize the SEEDS evidence-based model to meet their community’s needs through training and coaching. 

Kidango   •   First 5 Santa Clara County   •   Minnesota Reading and Math Corps  •   First 5 Santa Cruz County  •   Oakland Unified School District  •   Education for Change  •   New Horizon  •   First 5 Santa Cruz  •   Literacy Lab  Men of Color throughout the nation  •   SouthEast Education Cooperative Fargo North Dakota  •   Heartland Area Education Agency Iowa  •   Michigan Area Early Childhood Programs from Muskegon, Orchard View, Choice Schools   •   Miami-Dade County Head Start

FluentSeeds is thankful for the volunteers and donors who invested in our vision. 

Kenneth Rainin Foundation  •   McGuire and Hester in care of Brock Grunt  •   Dale Brydon  •   Surge Institute  •   Shaheena Khan  •   SEEDS of Learning  •   The Horst Family  •   Sheila and Jeff Priebe  •   Gina Caracol  •   Lindsay Appert  •   Educated Change  •   Quick Digital Printing


Looking Forward

As an organization, we are immensely proud of the feats we have accomplished this year – and we know there is still work to be done. FluentSeeds is incredibly grateful for the many individuals and organizations who played a pivotal role in our growth this year. Many of our dreams would still be intangible without you, our educators, parents, coaches, partners, and donors. The FluentSeeds community is overjoyed with the constant outpouring of love and support from our community. We have our goals in place for 2021 and plan to accomplish them and more. 

Closing Letter from Director, Kate Horst

The data and the numbers are important to us. They confirm that we are providing an essential service to children and families. They are important to us for an even more important reason. Behind every one of those numbers are a person and their story. A story about a child and family facing struggles that most of us can only imagine. One story is about a child experiencing the excitement that accompanies learning. Another, a story of a parent seeing her child have a chance to catch up educationally and feel hope that their child will be successful. You have made this possible.

Despite the challenges of 2020, we at FluentSeeds have been blessed. We are honored to have benefitted from your generosity and support that has taken so many forms; valued consultation, friendship, emotional encouragement, energy, and financial. The accomplishments of which we are so proud could not have been achieved without you. We thank you for what you have given FluentSeeds and, most importantly, how those gifts will be transformative in the lives of vulnerable young children.

Thank you, and have a Blessed Holiday.

– Kate Horst

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