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Archive for the ‘Pre-K to 3’ Category

“This is an initiative that’s not just going to be, you know, pie-in-the-sky ideas. We’re making sure that we really have some ideas that we can kind of measure, data-driven procedures and initiatives that we’re going to put together.”

 

Massachusetts Senator Sal DiDomenico (D-Everett) explaining the Senate’s new Kids First initiative, the State House News Service, January, 2016

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Senator Stan Rosenberg. Photo source: Senator Rosenberg's Facebook page.

Senator Stan Rosenberg. Photo source: Senator Rosenberg’s Facebook page

Children will be getting new attention from the Massachusetts Senate. Last week, the Senate announced that it’s launching a new initiative called Kids First that will work to improve the lives of the commonwealth’s children.

Senate President Stan Rosenberg (D-Amherst) told Boston Herald Radio that Kids First will be an effort to boost children’s resiliency and help them “become productive adults.”

Rosenberg named a group of senators who will “look at everything from education and nutrition to public health, housing and workforce development for ways to help the state’s youngest residents,” according to an AP story that ran in the Washington Times. (more…)

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Chad d'Entremont, executive director of the Rennie Center. Photo: Rennie Center for Education Research & Policy

Chad d’Entremont, executive director of the Rennie Center. Photo: Rennie Center for Education Research & Policy

 

“Cognitive and non-cognitive skills are inextricably linked,” Harvard’s Nonie Lesaux said during a panel discussion at the Condition of Education event hosted by the Rennie Center for Education Research and Policy.

There’s a growing consensus in education that children can’t develop strong cognitive skills without non-cognitive “soft skills” such as focus, persistence, and getting along with others. Indeed, the two categories of skills may be more linked than we realize.


 

Last week, the Rennie Center released the findings of its 2016 “Condition of Education in the Commonwealth” report at an event in Boston’s Omni Parker House Hotel. This year’s report focused on social-emotional learning, a hot topic among educators, parents, and researchers. The topic was so hot that #COE2016 was trending on Twitter during the event.

Covering education trends from birth to college and beyond, Rennie’s work includes a focus on high-quality early education. (more…)

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Kelly Kulsrud. Photo courtesy of Lectio.

Kelly Kulsrud. Photo courtesy of Lectio.

First, the bad news: We are sad to announce that Kelly Kulsrud, our director of reading proficiency, has left Strategies for Children (SFC).

The great news, however, is that Kelly has become a co-founder and the executive director of Lectio, an organization that builds on our efforts to boost literacy outcomes for children in Massachusetts. As Strategies for Children continues to grow its community-level work, we look forward to partnering with Kelly in her new role at Lectio.

Lectio is the Latin word for reading. And the organization’s goal is to apply the best research and thinking to the hands-on work of supporting children’s reading—in communities, districts, and states.

“Despite great promise and tireless efforts, most children’s literacy programs and services produce only negligible effects,” Lectio’s website says. (more…)

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“Our bottom line is a sense of urgency and we know that you all feel it,” Elizabeth Burke Bryant, the executive director of Rhode Island KIDS Count, said last week at the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading’s (CGLR) New England Regional meeting. “The sense of urgency is greater than ever.”

The problem: too many children cannot read proficiently.

As CGLR says on its website, the country faces a challenge: “Reading proficiency by third grade is the most important predictor of high school graduation and career success. Yet every year, more than 80 percent of low-income children miss this crucial milestone.”

The good news: “We’re starting to see communities produce results,” Ron Fairchild, a senior consultant at CGLR, said at the meeting.

Indeed, the issue of early reading proficiency is compelling more and more communities to join the effort – 232 local communities are now members of CGLR’s national network, up from an initial cohort of 124 when the campaign launched in 2011.

Held at Worcester Technical High School, the meeting was an opportunity for 70 participants from four states to share the effective work that’s being done around the country to boost children’s reading skills. (more…)

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

There’s mom. There’s apple pie. And across the country, there is widespread, bipartisan support for early education and early educators.

That’s the finding of a new market research study commissioned by NAEYC (the National Association for the Education of Young Children).

Now NAEYC is working to turn this popular support into transformative action.

The research findings highlight “three discrete yet interconnected areas: (1) the image of the profession; (2) paths to define and grow the profession; and (3) voters’ commitment to investing in the profession,” NAEYC explains on its website.

NAEYC’s market research builds on an Institute of Medicine report called, “Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth through Age 8,” which was released earlier this year.

While the Institute of Medicine report drew on the knowledge of experts, NAEYC sought feedback from voters and early educators. Specifically NAEYC’s research had four parts:

• in-depth, online qualitative interviews with early educators

• a quantitative online survey of early educators

• four focus groups with current educators and those interested in entering the field, and

• a national survey of 950 voters (more…)

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Photo: Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children

Photo: Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children

States face a persistent problem: Classrooms full of children who struggle to read.

“Only about one-third of all children attending school in the United States can read proficiently by fourth grade,” the New America foundation explains on its website. “The numbers are even more dismaying for our most vulnerable students. How can state policymakers lessen the achievement gap and improve literacy outcomes for all children?”

To find answers, New America has taken a look at all 50 states’ birth-to-third-grade policies.

The resulting report is a ranking of states called, “From Crawling to Walking: Ranking States on Birth- 3rd Grade Policies that Support Strong Readers.”

“Accompanying the research are interactive maps of state progress displayed via New America’s data visualization and policy analysis tool, Atlas.” This is an easy, graphic way to access findings for individual states. (more…)

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