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Archive for the ‘Strategies for Children’ Category

Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

Newly announced grants from the state of Massachusetts will help 13 cities and towns “develop strategic plans for providing high-quality preschool to more children in their community.”

The grant program — the Commonwealth Preschool Partnership Initiative — will invest $500,000 to help communities design “a collaborative, public-private partnership model for providing high-quality preschool that is aligned with Massachusetts’ Preschool Expansion Grant program.”

As Early Education and Care Commissioner Tom Weber explains, the grants help communities build upon their existing programs.

The grant recipients are: Athol, Brockton, Cape Cod, Fall River, Holyoke, Lawrence, Lowell, New Bedford, North Adams, Pittsfield, Springfield, Somerville, and Worcester. The grant amounts range from $22,000 to $40,000. (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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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode. Gingerbread house by Rylie Robinson

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode. Gingerbread house by Rylie Robinson.

The blog is taking a holiday season break and will return on Tuesday, January 5, 2016. Happy holidays and have a very happy New Year.

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Photo: Rylie Robinson for Strategies for Children

Photo: Rylie Robinson for Strategies for Children

“’Data! data! data!’ he cried impatiently. ‘I can’t make bricks without clay.’”

-Sherlock Holmes, in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s story, The Adventure of the Copper Beeches

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In the field of early education, policymakers, practitioners, and researchers are all searching for good reliable data. Indeed, our ambitious, system-building goals require lots of data.

Take a look at K-12. Never before has that sector been so awash in data or so focused on using data to make informed decisions about teaching and learning. And data also fuels discussions about school and district accountability.

However, the data landscape is much different in the birth-5 early education space where simply asking “Where are all the 4-year-olds?” can quickly send you on a wild goose chase.

This lack of data can be as frustrating for local community leaders looking to improve preschool enrollment or kindergarten readiness as it is for state-level policymakers eager to measure the impact of state investments.

(more…)

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

What formula should Massachusetts use to fund its schools?

A new report from the Foundation Budget Review Commission says that the current formula is outdated and fails to reflect “the actual costs of health insurance and special education.”

“In addition, the added amounts intended to provide services to ELL [English Language Learner] and low-income students are less than needed to fully provide the level of intervention and support needed” to ensure these students achieve academic and social-emotional success.

And while the commission did not have time to take an in-depth look at early education, the report does point to the importance of these programs.

State law established the commission last year and charged it with periodically reviewing the school funding formula. As we’ve blogged, “To set state funding for K-12 public schools, Massachusetts relies on the Chapter 70 Program. Created by the Education Reform Act of 1993, and first implemented in fiscal year 1994, Chapter 70 uses a formula that ‘has two goals: adequacy and fairness,’ according to a 2013 report from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DOE).”

Now, updating this school funding formula is crucial. (more…)

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Image Source: ReadyNation's Flickr page

Image Source: ReadyNation’s Flickr page

 

Last week, New York City hosted the 2015 Global Business Summit on Early Childhood Investments.

The summit was “a major gathering of 200+ business people, policymakers, and experts designed to showcase how the private sector is leading the way in advancing early childhood development around the world.”

The event was held by ReadyNation, an organization of business leaders who work to “strengthen business through better policies for children and youth.”

The goal of the summit was to “inspire and equip executives to take actions that expand support for young children at all levels.” Among the themes was a focus on “new evidence that establishes early childhood as the foundation for a culture of health and international leadership for early childhood.”

Chris Martes, president and CEO of Strategies for Children, attended the event and said, “The summit clearly shows how excited our business leaders are about investing in young children. Business leaders understand that high-quality early education and care programs help to produce the labor force of the future.” (more…)

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

 

Preschool programs are generating a lot of news this month, thanks in part to last week’s State House hearing on a number of early education and care bills — including, “An Act Ensuring High Quality Pre-Kindergarten Education.”

Here’s a roundup of the coverage, which appeared in print and on television. As always, be sure to join the conversation on Twitter @EarlyEd4All.

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Luchan por educación pre-escolar para todos (Fighting for preschool education for all) 
Telemundo Bostonby Arianne Alcorta, September 17, 2015

This Spanish language broadcast by Telemundo provides coverage of the State House hearing. It includes interviews with Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera, Joint Committee on Education co-chair Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz, and Stand for Children member and parent leader Elsa Flores.

*     *     * (more…)

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