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Photo Source: Charlie Baker's Facebook page.

Photo Source: Charlie Baker’s Facebook page.

“Governor-elect Charlie Baker is seeking advice. Lots of it,” the Boston Globe reported earlier this month.

“On Thursday, he announced a long list of people who will serve on his advisory transition committees on schools, jobs/economy, community, health, and better government.

“The multitude — more than 170 people in all — include big-names in the worlds of academia, business, and nonprofits…”

As we’ve blogged before, this is a great time for advocates to reach out to Baker’s transition team members and ask them to prioritize early education and care.

“It’s a good idea, and I’m glad to hear that the governor-elect is following that pattern,” the Globe quotes John Walsh saying about the large size of Baker’s transition team. Walsh was Governor Deval Patrick’s 2006 campaign manager. Having a large team works “because it just gives an opportunity, as you’re embarking on this, to hear from [many] different folks.”

We’re glad to report that one of the members of the schools committee is Strategies for Children’s (SFC) Amy O’Leary, director of our Early Education for All campaign. The committee co-chairs are Marty Meehan, the chancellor of the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, and Beth Anderson, CEO of Phoenix Charter Academy Network. Continue Reading »

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

A new report — “A Strong Start for Family Engagement in Massachusetts” — takes a look at how Massachusetts is managing family engagement programs.

Produced by the Harvard Family Research Project, the report is part of the December issue of the “FINE Newsletter: The Role of Organizations in Anywhere, Anytime Learning.” (FINE is the Family Involvement Network of Educators.)

“From high-quality statewide home visitation models to robust communications and outreach systems, the state of Massachusetts has long been a leader in high-quality family engagement,” the report says. But instead of being content with their success, state officials used federal Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge Funds to do even more.

“Massachusetts leveraged the windfall of federal dollars in order to deepen and sustain its existing, widely recognized initiatives and to selectively innovate projects.”  Continue Reading »

Don’t worry if you didn’t make it to Harvard earlier this month for a professional education program called “The Leading Edge of Early Childhood Education: Linking Science to Policy for a New Generation of Pre–K.”

The folks over at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education (HGSE) posted a video from the event, which brought together “leading scholars, practitioners, and policymakers to engage with the latest thinking, research, and practice in building and sustaining high-quality pre-K systems, schools, and classrooms.”

“I want to talk about using technology in wise ways with very young children,” Dr. Michael Rich says in this video. Rich is the director and founder of the Center on Media and Child Health at Boston Children’s Hospital. “And I think that to start, we Continue Reading »

Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

Full-day preschool programs just got some good news. A new research study found that children who attend full-day programs are more school-ready than those who attend half-day programs.

“This is the first study to comprehensively examine the results of lengthening the preschool day and it has national implications, when only half of students who enter kindergarten each year are fully prepared,” study co-author Arthur Reynolds says in a University of Minnesota news release. Reynolds is a professor at the university’s Institute of Child Development.

According to the news release, “Reynolds says that early childhood education programs have long been known to be key to preparing children for later school success. Now, however, he sees the bigger question to be the effect of increased learning time in early childhood education programs.”

The study — published last month in the Journal of the American Medical Association — looked at children in 11 Chicago schools during the 2012-2013 school year. The children were a “nonrandomized, matched-group cohort of predominantly low-income, ethnic minority children.” Of these, 409 were enrolled in the Child-Parent Centers (CPC) for a full, seven-hour day. And 573 were enrolled in part-day programs that ran on average for three hours.  Continue Reading »

Earlier this week, President Obama announced that Massachusetts had won a federal Pre-K Development Grant. Here’s what the commonwealth’s Congressional delegation had to say about the award.

*     *     *

“This federal grant will give more Massachusetts families a chance at high-quality early education for their kids by expanding and strengthening preschool programs in communities across the Commonwealth.”

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren

*     *     *

“Children who have access to early learning programs are more likely to continue in their education and become productive members of society, and I congratulate Governor Patrick and the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care for their leadership.”

Massachusetts Senator Edward J. Markey

*     *     *

“Massachusetts has long led the nation in quality public education. The announcement of new federal funding through the preschool expansion grant competition is recognition of the Commonwealth’s longstanding investment in our young students, and of the innovative work done by our teachers and administrators.”

Congresswoman Niki Tsongas

 

President Obama hugs Alajah, the third-grader who introduced him at the summit.  Photo: The White House.

President Obama hugs Alajah Lane, the third-grader who introduced him at the summit. Photo: The White House

Yesterday was a historic day at the White House. President Obama hosted an early education summit that included an announcement about increased resources for young children and families.

The White House Summit on Early Education brought together a wide range of stakeholders — mayors, school superintendents, members of Congress, philanthropists, funders, and corporate and community leaders — who shared their work on providing high-quality preschool programs.

And President Obama announced that states had won over $1 billion in early childhood grant awards. The president also announced an additional $330 million in private funding.

“Early education is a win for everyone,” Obama said in his summit speech. High-quality programs give children a strong start and they save taxpayer dollars. And as Obama pointed out, progress has been bipartisan. Red and blue states including Oklahoma and Georgia and New York and New Jersey have boosted their commitment to high-quality preschool.  Continue Reading »

Yesterday, Governor Deval Patrick announced that “Massachusetts is one of 13 grant award winners in the federal Preschool Development Grant: Expansion Grant competition, and will receive significant funding to expand high quality preschool programs in five high-needs communities across the state. These communities are Boston, Holyoke, Lawrence, Lowell and Springfield.”

Chris Martes

Chris Martes

In response, Chris Martes, President and CEO of Strategies for Children, issued the following statement:

“On behalf of the Board of Directors and staff of Strategies for Children, we applaud the Patrick Administration and the Department of Early Education and Care for its successful federal grant proposal for pre-kindergarten. This funding will help the commonwealth close the achievement gap by investing in high-quality early learning experiences for some of our neediest children. Too many children show up for school already behind, and too many never catch up. High quality pre-k is an evidence-based strategy for closing the achievement gap.

High-quality early education is about starting early to support and develop the whole-child: social/emotional skills, vocabulary, early math, executive function, creativity, and a love of learning. The best pre-kindergarten programs do this, all under the safe and supportive guidance of high-quality, well trained, well compensated early childhood educators.

Children in Boston, Holyoke, Lawrence, Lowell, and Springfield will benefit directly from this grant. In these communities, high-quality programs from across the mixed-provider early education field will provide the pre-K program, and partner Continue Reading »

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