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Archive for the ‘Family engagement’ Category

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Federally funded home visiting programs have gotten a vote of confidence from a recent report.

Unfortunately, funding for this important program is being held up in Congress.

“The federal Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting, or MIECHV, program has supported high-risk families in communities across the country through intensive home visiting services since 2010,” according to the report, “An Investment in Our Future: How Federal Home Visiting Funding Provides Critical Support for Parents and Children.”

Released by CLASP (the Center for Law and Social Policy) and the Center for American Progress, the report is based on interviews with officials from 20 states and two tribal organizations.

Support from the States

The program has widespread local support, as a recent op-ed in the Salt Lake Tribune shows:

“Sometimes it can be easy to forget there are such pressing needs in Utah… Our business community, economy, and government regularly receive national recognition for their well-deserved successes,” writes Kirk L. Jowers, the University of Utah’s Director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics.  (more…)

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Next month, join NAEYC (the National Association for the Education of Young Children) for its “Week of the Young Child 2015: Celebrating Our Youngest Learners,” from April 12th to the 18th, 2015.

First established in 1971, the purpose of this annual celebration is to “focus public attention on the needs of young children and their families” and “to recognize the early childhood programs and services that meet those needs.”

Each day of the Week of the Young Child (WOYC) has a different theme:

Music Monday highlights the educational power of songs by inviting children and families to sing along with “Thingamajig,” a tune sung by Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band.

Taco Tuesday emphasizes the fun of cooking healthy meals together for good nutrition and to show how cooking can be used to connect math, literacy, and science skills.  (more…)

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Photo courtesy of the Boston Public Schools

Photo courtesy of the Boston Public Schools

We’re excited to congratulate Boston’s newly named school superintendent, Tommy Chang. He supports early education and creative instructional efforts that draw on local resources.

“I think he is a quiet visionary,” Michael O’Neill, chair of the Boston School Committee, told the Boston Globe.

“Dr. Chang will provide the leadership that our school system needs, and I am confident that his innovative views on education will move our students forward,” Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said. “We need a transformative leader, and that is Tommy Chang.”

The Globe adds, “Chang, 39, has been working for the last three years with more than 130 low-achieving schools as an instructional superintendent in the Los Angeles Unified School District’s Intensive Support and Innovation Center.

“With his experience in the country’s second-largest school district, Chang has gained a reputation for a quick mind, collaborative approach, and a strong conviction that schools should have the flexibility to experiment.” (more…)

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

A new regional training series starts this month. It’s called “New Start: Supporting Multilingual Children and Immigrant & Refugee Families.”

Sponsored by the Massachusetts Office for Refugees and Immigrants and by the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC), the training series looks at “early learning for these children and meaningful engagement of their parents and communities…” according to an event flier.

The need is considerable. “More than 1 in 4 children in Massachusetts under age 6 live in households that speak a language other than English,” the flier notes.

Presented in partnership with the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA), the series “will equip providers, stakeholders, and other professionals with knowledge on immigration policy, cultural competency, and child development and educational principles in the context of multilingual homes and multicultural environments.”  (more…)

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“Are all of Burlington’s children on the path to a healthy and prosperous future? Compelling scientific research into the brain development of infants and young children shows that the early years of a child’s life are critical to developing the skills necessary to become a thriving adult. A lack of household economic resources is the single largest indicator for a host of poor childhood educational and health outcomes…

“By focusing on parent mentoring in combination with a market-driven scholarship approach to early education, we can we can strengthen Burlington’s future by providing our youngest with a healthy start.”

From “Burlington Beginnings: A White Paper on a Comprehensive, Coordinated Sustainable Early Learning Initiative,” January, 2015, a summary of early education plans in Burlington, Vt.

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Jay Gonzalez, Chair of the Board of the Department of  Early Education and Care

Jay Gonzalez

The Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) is asking the Legislature for an additional $45 million for fiscal year 2016. This investment would position Massachusetts to improve the ways that it helps young children succeed in school and life.

Please contact your elected state officials and let them know that you support this request and the progress it seeks to make.

EEC’s FY 2016 proposal is based on a vision of eventually providing high-quality, affordable programs that are available to every young child in the state. These programs would be staffed with well-qualified and well-trained teachers and providers.

“After a long process of evaluating the state of early education and care in Massachusetts and soliciting feedback from stakeholders and the public, the Board of Early Education and Care developed and approved a comprehensive proposal for systemic reform and investment,” Jay Gonzalez, chair of the Board of the Department of Early Education and Care, said in a statement. “The Board’s vote establishes a multi-year framework for taking our system of early education and care to the next level.”  (more…)

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State HouseOn Tuesday, Governor Baker announced his administration’s plan to close a mid-year state budget gap of $768 million. To do this, the governor relies on non-tax revenue adjustments as well as “9C cuts” to reduce fiscal year 2015 spending levels for nearly 300 line items. Baker explains his approach in a press release.

How did early education fare?

Overall, Baker reduced the Department of Early Education and Care’s budget by $5.5 million, including: a $2.1 million cut to the TANF access account; a $1 million cut to Head Start; a $1 million to Coordinated Family and Community Engagement grants; and $750,000 from the new K1 classroom grant program. EEC administration, Access Management, and waitlist reduction funds were also cut by smaller amounts.

In addition, Full Day Kindergarten grants were cut by $5 million. These quality grants are managed by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, and fund para-professional salaries, program curriculum, professional development, and other activities.

In light of these cuts, your advocacy will be critical as our state legislators debate the fiscal year 2016 budget.

So please participate in Rising Stars 2015 and send a message to Governor Baker and your state legislators today.

Stay tuned for more advocacy opportunities: Our policymakers need to hear from all of us. Together, we can advocate for and secure the investments in high-quality early education that will provide bright futures for the commonwealth’s young children.

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