Archive for the ‘Strategies for Children’ Category

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

A statement from Chris Martes, President and CEO of Strategies for Children:

“We are encouraged by today’s House Ways and Means proposal for early education funding in fiscal year 2016. The targeted funding increase for early education, made amid a challenging fiscal climate, signals the overarching commitment by the House to close the achievement gap and give all children a level playing field for success in school.

Earlier this year, House Speaker DeLeo spoke about the importance of providing more children with access to high-quality early education and listed this as a priority issue for the House.

The proposed funding increases, including $5 million to serve children on the state’s subsidy waiting list and $5 million for early educator quality supports and salaries, are steps in the right direction. However, many more children remain on the state’s waiting list. To serve all young children through high-quality Pre-K, the state needs a long-term funding plan. Given the state’s ongoing fiscal challenges, new Pre-K funding should be phased in over multiple years, and initial preference should be given to the highest-needs communities to level the playing field.”

For details on the House’s budget proposal, visit our website.

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gala programOn April 3, 2015, some 200 early educators gathered in Randolph for the 14th annual Early Educators Awards Gala sponsored by the Boston Association for the Education of Young Children (BAEYC).

The gala celebrates Greater Boston’s early childhood educators and their contributions to the development of young children. The event also recognizes outstanding educators and high-quality programs. Our own Amy O’Leary, Early Education for All Campaign Director, served as the evening’s Mistress of Ceremonies.

Debbie LeeKeenan was awarded the Abigail Eliot Award. The award honors outstanding commitment to young children and the early childhood profession not only through work done on behalf of BAEYC, but also through a record of distinguished professional achievement.

The award is named after Abigail Adams Eliot, a pioneer in early childhood education and in training teachers of young children. Ms. Eliot, who died in 1992 at the age of 100, was founder of the Ruggles Street Nursery School in Roxbury, the first nursery school in the country; and one of the few that provided training in early childhood education. (more…)

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Imagine a citywide approach to helping young children prepare for school.

That’s the city New Bedford is striving to be. The city’s public school system is working with local center-based preschool providers, as well as diverse stakeholders including the New Bedford Art Museum, the city’s housing authority, and the United Way of New Bedford to develop school readiness programs.

“We’ve never really had that alignment conversation,” Diane Sullivan said in a recent interview. Sullivan is the supervisor of Early Childhood Special Education for New Bedford Public Schools.

Sullivan helps lead the Birth through Third Grade Alignment Partnership effort, which has been underway in New Bedford since fall 2014. The work is funded by the Department of Early Education and Care, using federal Early Learning Challenge funds.

Taking what Sullivan calls a “good first step,” New Bedford has decided to focus on helping preschool-age children build strong social and emotional skills.  (more…)

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“Who’s going to say they don’t support pre-school? No one is going to say they don’t support it. We should be saying, at what level do you support it? That’s the more important question.”

Massachusetts State Senator Sal DiDomenico (D-Everett), at the Pre-K for MA Kickoff Event, March 31, 2015

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Parents Ursula Allston-Hill and Armando Perez at the Pre-K for MA launch.

Armando Perez and Ursula Allston-Hill at the Pre-K for MA launch.



“It’s time for Massachusetts to lead once again,” Jason Williams, Massachusetts Executive Director of Stand for Children, said yesterday at a Pre-K for MA kickoff event at the State House.

Led by Strategies for Children and Stand for Children Massachusetts, Pre-K for MA is a coalition of education, business, and civic leaders who know that early education and care can help close the state’s achievement gap and create more opportunities for disadvantaged children.

Attended by parents, early educators, advocates, and several young children, the kickoff event also featured a number of state legislators including Representative Alice Peisch (D-Wellesley) and Senator Sal DiDomenico (D-Everett).

Peisch and DiDomenico have co-sponsored a bill — “An Act Ensuring High Quality Pre-Kindergarten Education” —that calls on Massachusetts to follow New Jersey’s example by providing “access to high-quality pre-kindergarten programs for 3-and 4-year-olds living in underperforming school districts,” as this fact sheet explains. The bill would set up a grant program; and the grants would be awarded by the Department of Early Education and Care in consultation with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.  (more…)

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Photo: Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children

Photo: Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children

It’s spring, and it’s time for the 14th Annual Early Educators Awards Gala, hosted by the Boston Association for the Education of Young Children.

This year’s gala will be held on Friday, April 3, 2015, from 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. at Lombardo’s in Randolph.

The Mistress of Ceremonies will be Amy O’Leary, the director of our Early Education for All campaign.

The gala celebrates the hard work and accomplishments of early educators. So please nominate an early educator for an award. The deadline for nominations has been extended.

You can nominate someone for one of the following six categories:

– Leadership & Management: for being a strong presence in the field of early education and care; working to improve awareness of the importance of early education; and understanding the policies and procedures that are necessary to support a quality early education program. (more…)

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The Building on What Works Coalition. Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

The Building on What Works Coalition

A new coalition held an event at the State House last week and asked legislators to create powerful new educational opportunities for children.

The Building on What Works Coalition unites educators, business leaders, and elected officials who want to root out educational inequality and give all the state’s children the educational experiences they will need to thrive in our 21st century economy.

The coalition is calling for the state’s fiscal year 2016 budget to invest $75 million in a fund that communities could use to take one or more of the following steps:

• expand access to high-quality, birth-to-age-5 early learning opportunities

• expand K-12 learning time by making school days or school years longer, and,

• design innovative learning systems that draw on educators’ talents as well as on technology and public resources

The fund would be made available to communities where more than 50 percent of the students served are high-need.  (more…)

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