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Archive for the ‘Strategies for Children’ Category

Andy Hargreaves, professor  at Boston College's Lynch School of Education. Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Andy Hargreaves, professor at Boston College’s Lynch School of Education. Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

“The moment is ripe for more deliberate action in the early childhood sphere in Massachusetts,” according to a new report from the Rennie Center, a nonprofit organization that focuses on education research and policy.

The annual report — “Condition of Education (COE) in the Commonwealth Report: Priority Actions for a Statewide Agenda” — includes a data report and a policy action guide. Several research and policy organizations, including Strategies for Children, served on the report’s advisory committee.

Rennie released the report at a standing-room-only event at the Omni Parker Hotel that brought together Jim Peyser, the state’s new secretary of education with the chairs of the Boards of the Departments of Early Education and Care; Elementary and Secondary Education; and Higher Education.

The report “highlights what works now,” Pendred Noyce, chair of Rennie’s board, said at the Omni Parker event, explaining that the report points to successful programs that could be replicated to improve educational outcomes across the state. (more…)

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Chris Martes

Chris Martes

Chris Martes, Strategies for Children’s president and CEO, has a new article out in the latest edition of CommonWealth Magazine.

In “A chance to lead on early education,” Martes writes that Massachusetts can be a national role model by building strong pre-K programs. This would prepare more children for lifelong success and set an example for other states.

“From the White House to business boardrooms to the offices of scores of Republican and Democratic mayors, governors, and members of Congress, we’re seeing historic momentum on expanding and improving preschool programs,” Martes writes.

“It is in this spirit of historic potential that we welcome Gov. Charlie Baker to the State House. He and his team have the opportunity to break new ground.”

Pre-K Helps Improve K-12

“The Commonwealth needs strong K-12 schools. But having served for nearly two decades as a school superintendent and as an interim superintendent in five Massachusetts communities, I can tell you that K-12 schools cannot reform education on their own,” Martes explains. “There’s too much work to do. Too many achievement gaps are already in place on the first day that children walk into kindergarten.  (more…)

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Photo Source: Charlie Baker's Facebook page

Photo Source: Charlie Baker’s Facebook page

Today, Charlie Baker is going to be sworn in as the new governor of Massachusetts.

It’s an exciting time for Baker who has spent years working in Massachusetts state government. Among his jobs: secretary of health and human services and secretary of administration and finance.

Now Baker moves into the executive office, and his “inaugural events — built on the ‘Let’s be great, Massachusetts’ theme of his campaign — will include an interfaith service and concert,” the Boston Globe says, adding:

“When Baker moves into his office on the third floor of the State House, he’ll honor one of his predecessors by placing his or her portrait over the mantel.”

Baker also received four parting gifts that, the Globe explains, “traditionally pass from the outgoing governor to the successor.” They are:

1. The pewter key to the governor’s office
2. Former governor Benjamin Butler’s Bible, which he first bestowed in 1884
3. The governor’s gavel, made from oak taken from the USS Constitution, and,
4. The Massachusetts General Statutes, in which the departing governor usually inscribes a message to the governor-elect

The inauguration will include residents and organizations from around the state. According to the Lowell Sun, “The Angkor Dance Troupe won’t be the only Lowell institution to represent the city at Gov.-elect Charlie Baker’s inauguration (more…)

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Holiday Break

snowmanThe blog is taking a holiday break and will return on Monday, January 5th, 2015.

Happy New Year.

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Photo Source: Charlie Baker's Facebook page.

Photo Source: Charlie Baker’s Facebook page.

“Governor-elect Charlie Baker is seeking advice. Lots of it,” the Boston Globe reported earlier this month.

“On Thursday, he announced a long list of people who will serve on his advisory transition committees on schools, jobs/economy, community, health, and better government.

“The multitude — more than 170 people in all — include big-names in the worlds of academia, business, and nonprofits…”

As we’ve blogged before, this is a great time for advocates to reach out to Baker’s transition team members and ask them to prioritize early education and care.

“It’s a good idea, and I’m glad to hear that the governor-elect is following that pattern,” the Globe quotes John Walsh saying about the large size of Baker’s transition team. Walsh was Governor Deval Patrick’s 2006 campaign manager. Having a large team works “because it just gives an opportunity, as you’re embarking on this, to hear from [many] different folks.”

We’re glad to report that one of the members of the schools committee is Strategies for Children’s (SFC) Amy O’Leary, director of our Early Education for All campaign. The committee co-chairs are Marty Meehan, the chancellor of the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, and Beth Anderson, CEO of Phoenix Charter Academy Network. (more…)

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Yesterday, Governor Deval Patrick announced that “Massachusetts is one of 13 grant award winners in the federal Preschool Development Grant: Expansion Grant competition, and will receive significant funding to expand high quality preschool programs in five high-needs communities across the state. These communities are Boston, Holyoke, Lawrence, Lowell and Springfield.”

Chris Martes

Chris Martes

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

“On behalf of the Board of Directors and staff of Strategies for Children, we applaud the Patrick Administration and the Department of Early Education and Care for its successful federal grant proposal for pre-kindergarten. This funding will help the commonwealth close the achievement gap by investing in high-quality early learning experiences for some of our neediest children. Too many children show up for school already behind, and too many never catch up. High quality pre-k is an evidence-based strategy for closing the achievement gap.

High-quality early education is about starting early to support and develop the whole-child: social/emotional skills, vocabulary, early math, executive function, creativity, and a love of learning. The best pre-kindergarten programs do this, all under the safe and supportive guidance of high-quality, well trained, well compensated early childhood educators.

Children in Boston, Holyoke, Lawrence, Lowell, and Springfield will benefit directly from this grant. In these communities, high-quality programs from across the mixed-provider early education field will provide the pre-K program, and partner (more…)

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Stephanie Sanchez, of Stand for Children, and Chris Martes, president and CEO of Strategies for Children. Photo: Alyssa Haywoode

Stephanie Sanchez, of Stand for Children, and Chris Martes, president and CEO of Strategies for Children. Photo: Alyssa Haywoode

This isn’t just the season for holiday shopping. Now that Election Day has passed, it’s also a great time for advocates to reach out to policymakers – including the newly elected officials who will be sworn in next month — and make the case for prioritizing birth-through-third-grade learning.

“Start now and lay a foundation,” Amy O’Leary, the director of our Early Education for All Campaign, said at a post-election strategy meeting that Strategies for Children (SFC) held on Tuesday. Attended by 30 local leaders in early education and care, the meeting took place at the Nurtury Learning Lab in Jamaica Plain.

What to Say: Crafting a Message 

Write to local leaders — or call, email, and Tweet. Congratulate them on winning their elections, O’Leary advised, and encourage them to focus on expanding and improving education for the commonwealth’s youngest children. (more…)

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