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Archive for the ‘Strategies for Children’ Category

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children. Turkey by Rylie Robinson

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children  Turkey by Rylie Robinson

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“We know that grateful kids are happier [and] more satisfied with their lives.”

Jeffrey Froh, Hofstra University Psychology Professor, in the Washington Post article, “Teaching kids to be grateful may have long-term benefits even though it’s not easy,” November 21, 2011

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“…perhaps the biggest political opportunity for both parties lies in the nonpartisan issue of early childhood education.”

A memo from Jim Messina, a former campaign manager for President Barack Obama, and Kevin Madden, a senior adviser to Mitt Romney during the 2012 election; on behalf of the First Five Years Fund, November 10, 2014

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“Happy Thanksgiving!”

The Staff at Strategies for Children, November 26, 2014

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Photo: Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children

Photo: Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children

Parents, mayors, governors, and President Obama are all talking about the importance of high-quality preschool programs and about how they can help children become proficient third grade readers.

But with all this energy and action, it can be easy to lose sight of how, specifically, policymakers can have a positive impact in these areas.

That’s why the Education Commission of the States has put together a guide for policymaker’s, an A to Z primer on early education called “Initiatives from Preschool to Third Grade.”

It’s a “reference guide for policymakers and their staffs on the most commonly requested topics from preschool to third grade,” according to the guide’s executive summary.

The guide says, “the primary programs and strategies policymakers have inquired about include: (more…)

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

“On behalf of the Board of Directors and staff of Strategies for Children, congratulations to Governor-elect Charlie Baker. Upon taking office, Governor-elect Baker will have a critical opportunity to help close the achievement gap through increased access to high-quality early education.

Massachusetts is well-poised to solve some of the most difficult challenges in education. Chief among these is the achievement gap. Research shows that this gap takes root as early as 18 months of age, and often persists throughout children’s academic career. Here in Massachusetts, despite incremental progress in narrowing the achievement gap across grades and subjects, large gaps remain, particularly in early literacy.

To close the achievement gap, we must start early. We must act on the latest early childhood research and make increased investments in high-quality early education. This means adequately funding early education and care in Massachusetts, and affording all children under age 5 the opportunity to attend high-quality programs that prepare them well for success in school and beyond. Currently, far too many children do not have that opportunity, particularly in our Gateway Cities.

We look forward to working with Governor-elect Baker to develop and implement a multi-year investment to provide all children with early learning opportunities and a strong foundation for future success. Governor-elect Baker is a supporter of targeted pre-k, as he stated during the campaign. We must expand access to pre-kindergarten programs, while continuing to invest in program quality and the early education and care workforce. We thank all gubernatorial candidates for running and raising these important issues. We look forward to working with Governor-elect Baker to help make this vision a reality for the commonwealth, and becoming the first state to close the achievement gap once and for all.

Our children are counting on us.”

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blues mapHow is Massachusetts doing on third-grade reading proficiency? And how, specifically, are third graders in your community doing?

Strategies for Children’s (SFC) newly updated infographics webpage make it easy to see how reading skills and achievement play out across the state. These images and graphs can be shared online or printed out and distributed at meetings. The data originates from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and can be explored in detail on the department’s website.

As we blogged last month, scores on the MCAS (Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System) have been stagnant.

In a statement, Chris Martes, SFC’s president and CEO, wrote, “The 2014 MCAS scores show that the state’s third grade reading proficiency rates have not changed since last year. This year, as in 2013, 43 percent of third grade students did not score proficient in reading. That’s roughly 29,000 children who did not meet this crucial educational benchmark.”

“The consequences of reading failure at this age are significant. Struggling readers are four times less likely to graduate high school on time than proficient readers, jeopardizing their prospects for participating in our global knowledge-based economy.” (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Last month’s release of the 2014 MCAS scores revealed that our third grade reading proficiency rates have not changed since last year. Once again, 43 percent of third graders statewide did not score in the proficient range in reading. That’s roughly 29,000 children who did not meet this crucial educational benchmark. And as the research shows, the consequences of reading failure at this age are significant.

To change the trajectory of early literacy in Massachusetts, advocates, literacy experts, practitioners, and state policymakers are taking action. The state’s Early Literacy Expert Panel has just released its Year One Annual Report. It’s an early look into the critical work this panel was charged with: providing “recommendations to state education agencies on the alignment, coordination, implementation and improvement of all existing efforts that bear on children’s literacy outcomes, guided by the goal of improving third grade reading outcomes in the Commonwealth.”

Overseen by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Education, the panel will ultimately submit its recommendations to the Departments of Early Education and Care (EEC), Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE), and Higher Education (DHE). (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

The gubernatorial election is heating up and as the candidates debate the issues, early education is getting plenty of well-deserved attention.

On Tuesday, November 4, 2014, it will be up to voters to pick the next governor, but once they do, we’ve got good advice for the man or woman who gets elected.

A Strategies for Children brief called, “Early Education Policy Opportunities for the Next Governor,” provides essential next steps that Massachusetts should take.

Massachusetts is a leader in early education. In 2005, the state established the Department of Early Education and Care. In 2010, the state won a federal Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge grant. And thanks to years of work, the state has built a foundation for a system of high-quality early education that aligns with the K-12 system. (more…)

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In Massachusetts, 43% of third graders are not proficient readers, according to the 2014 MCAS results released today. Statewide performance in third grade reading is unchanged since last year and has remained flat since 2001, however several Gateway Cities made progress this year.

third grade below trendline

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

“The 2014 MCAS scores show that the state’s third grade reading proficiency rates have not changed since last year. This year, as in 2013, 43% of third grade students did not score proficient in reading. That’s roughly 29,000 children who did not meet this crucial educational benchmark.

The consequences of reading failure at this age are significant. Struggling readers are four times less likely to graduate high school on time than proficient readers, jeopardizing their prospects for participating in our global knowledge-based economy.

(more…)

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