Great Start Collaborative (GSC)

The Great Start Collaborative (GSC) is an  early childhood community group that uses local data from Cheboygan, Otsego and Presque Isle counties to build and expand early childhood opportunities, along with resources for families. Family voice and engagement are a priority of the GSC,  20% of the GSC membership must consist of parents of young children who participate in early childhood programs.  The group is made up of  organizations that serve children and families prenatal to age 8 including: businesses, philanthropy, faith-based community, Health and Human Services, Community Mental health, private healthcare including mental health, juvenile and/family court, elementary education staff, preschool including Head Start  and GSRP, child care providers, elected officials, community specific non-profits, etc.  The Great Start Collaborative is supported by funding from the Michigan Department of Lifelong Education, Advancement and Potential and the Office of Great Start, in collaboration with Cheboygan, Otsego and Presque Isle Educational Service District  and community partners.  ​

Goals & Outcomes

Outcome 1 - Children are born healthy.

Outcome 2 - Children are healthy, thriving, and developmentally on track from birth to third grade.

Outcome 3 - Children are developmentally ready to succeed in school at time of school entry.

Outcome 4 - Children are prepared to succeed in fourth grade and beyond by reading proficiently by the end of third grade.

You Might Recognize Some of Our Work!

We love our community! Below are a  few projects that we have sponsored in our three local communities.  The projects are part of our Strategic Plan, Work Plan and Trusted Advisor Projects which are  funded from the Office of Great Start within Michigan Department of Education and the Michigan Department of Lifelong Education, advancement, and Potential.

Doulas are trained birthworkers who provide non-clinical emotional, physical, and informational support to pregnant people and their families before, during, and after birth. A doula is a birth professional whose goal is to help families have a safe, healthy and positive birth experience.

To find a Doula in your area, click here.

We are glad you asked!  COPESD Great Start Collaborative knows the importance  of providing the support families need to help their children become productive members of our community. The Great Start Collaborative is all about kids, our kids!  Nelson Mandela said it best, “Our children are our greatest treasure. They are our future.”  Visit COPESD's Great Start Collaborative website

Parent  representatives bring their knowledge and strengths by providing input during the Great Start Collaborative meetings. Meetings occur 4 times a year and include other families, agencies and organizations that support children 0 to 8 years of age.   If you are interested in becoming a parent representative, fill out our interest survey.

Interest Survey

The Great Start to Quality allows you to search for quality licensed programs in Michigan, for children 0-12, by location. You will also find other resources that may be of interest to you and your family at The Great Start to Quality. 

Talking is Teaching encourages families to make every moment an opportunity for learning. Talk, Read and Sing to your child throughout the day. The possibilities are endless!               

COP ESD's Talking is Teaching website










Talking is Teaching Team with Trusted Advisors partner  Corwith Station, Vanderbilt, MI



Michigan’s Children has information about state policy and programming for young children and families, updates on legislation, and advocacy.

Michigan’s Children 

Come Join Us!

All meetings take place at:
Cheboygan, Otsego, Presque Isle Educational Service District
6065 Learning Lane
Indian River, MI 49749

Meeting Dates

Great Start Family Coalitions (GSFC)

The Great Start Family Coalitions (GSFC) are the sister body to the local GSC.  The GSFCs are a group of parents and caregivers who volunteer to provide their insight and voice to support the Early Childhood work in their communities. 

For more information:

Melinda Hambleton
Great Start Collaborative Coordinator


Dawn Fenstermaker
Family Engagement Specialist