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Amy O’Leary

“Two of the questions that almost always come up are, ‘How did you go from being a preschool teacher to a director to a lobbyist?’ and ‘How did you get involved in policy and advocacy?’ ”

“I often respond first with, ‘I believe in learning by doing. So far I have been able to use the same skills I needed to captivate 5-year-olds at circle time to engage with legislators at the state house.’ I want early educators to believe that they are leaders and can do anything.”

“As I share my story, I am also thinking about LEAP—the Leadership Empowerment Action Project—which helped to provide an incredible foundation in advocacy and policy to me and to early educators across Massachusetts and the country.”

 

“From Our President. On the Journey to Leadership and Empowerment,” by Amy O’Leary, director of the Early Education for All Campaign at Strategies for Children and president of the NAEYC Governing Board, Young Children, May 2019

Photo: Massachusetts Department of Higher Education Twitter page

 

Imagine a preschool teacher who has the entire community on speed dial.

This preschool teacher could consult with local education professors, public school teachers, or a local librarian.

All these contacts would help the preschool teacher grow professionally and become more effective in the classroom.

If this sounds like a powerful idea, then check out the Improving Teacher Quality-Early Learning Toolkit. It’s a blueprint developed by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education (DHE) that explains how higher education, public education, community partners, and early educators can all collaborate to improve outcomes for young children. Continue Reading »

Award winners.

 

Parents are a powerful part of education. They help their own children. They volunteer and help other people’s children. And earlier this month, parents who are connected to the Head Start and Child Services programs at the Boston, anti-poverty agency ABCD, got a celebratory nod of recognition at a Parent Training & Recognition Breakfast.

The event’s keynote speaker was Amy O’Leary, director of the Early Education for All campaign here at Strategies for Children.

“Parents can change the world,” Amy says, “and that’s why engaging them in their children’s education is so important.”

“Research has shown that when parents are engaged in their children’s lives and education it benefits both parent and child now and in the long term,” according to an excerpt from ABCD’s parent handbook. “Based on this rich body of research, we know that we need an ongoing commitment from parents and families in each of our centers.”

In her keynote speech, Amy encouraged parents to make their voices heard.

Her message: “WE Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For.” Parents can become leaders in early education and care. Continue Reading »

 

“Here we are growing a team at Zion Education Center with teachers with certificates to teach… and I couldn’t speak the language. And that’s why I went back and obtained my doctorate in instructional management and educational leadership, because I felt that in order for me to grow my team, grow my staff, and to better serve the families within our community, which are low-income, economically disadvantaged families, I needed to know what was happening at every level — local, county, state, federal — that would invest in our kids.

“And so having that team, a great team, in place, [with the] same mission, and same focus to shape the lives of those children and pull them out of poverty, pull their families out of poverty, through early childhood education with a diverse workforce — both caucasian and African-American females, some with Asian descent, and, yes, we have some male representation, too — we needed our workforce to look like, or my team to look like the children that we serve. And that’s how we best identify with them.”

 

April Torrence, founder and executive director of the Zion Education Center, at New America’s event, Exploring Diversity in the Early Care & Education Workforce, May 2, 2019

Torrence was part of a panel discussion that also included:

Maria Martinez, teacher, Greenbelt Children’s Center, Greenbelt, Md.

Maria Potts, co-manager and teacher, Kids World Child Care, Fairfax, Va., and,

Danny Vasquez, lead teacher, ACCA Child Development Center, Annandale, Va.

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

 

On Tuesday, May 7, 2019, the Senate Committee on Ways and Means released a $42.7 billion state budget proposal for fiscal year 2020.

Compared to FY19 levels, the Senate’s budget makes modest increases in funding for early education and care. But overall, this budget allocates less for early childhood than both Governor Charlie Baker’s budget and the House budget.

Most notably, the Senate proposal does not include:

• a rate increase for early educators [3000-1042]

• grant funding for community colleges to run early educator workforce development programs [3000-7066], and

• funding for Reach Out and Read [3000-7070]

The Senate budget does include $5 million for preschool grants under the Commonwealth Preschool Partnership Initiative [3000-6025]. This critical funding would allow the Department of Early Education and Care to continue some of its preschool expansion activities in FY20, but this allocation falls short of Strategies for Children’s recommendation of $25 million. That is the amount needed to maintain support for preschool programs that have expiring federal grants, sustain state-funded preschool grants that have just begun in six communities this spring, and offer grants to additional communities.

Senators have until Friday to file budget amendments, so check back for updates.

Click here for a complete list of the Senate’s proposed early education budget line items.

And for more information, contact Titus DosRemedios at tdosremedios@strategiesforchildren.org, (617) 330-7387.

 

The path from birth to third grade ought to be an easy, exciting journey for children.

That’s the message that David Jacobson shared last week at “The First 10 Years: School and Community Initiatives to Improve Teaching, Learning, and Care,” an event hosted by the Washington, D.C., think tank, New America.

“…kindergarten needs to build on the learning and care that children experience in pre-kindergarten. And children need for the programs and services that they experience each year to be coordinated, meaning coordination between education, health, and social services,” Jacobson said at the event. 

Children need “alignment across the years; meaning that every year, we are building on and taking advantage of what children learned the previous year.” Continue Reading »

Photo Source: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Instagram page.

 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) was in town this morning at Tufts University to talk about early education. Joining Speaker Pelosi were members of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation – Congresswomen Katherine Clark, Ayanna Pressley, and Lori Trahan.

To watch a recap, go to the Tisch College Facebook page. The event was hosted by the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life, which is based at Tufts.

The Twitter hashtag is #speakerinthehouse.

Speaker Pelosi offered the following remarks in support of children, families, and educators:

“Everything that we do has to be about the children and their future.”

“When people want to run for office… I always say ‘know your why.’ If you know your why, you’ll know your what, and you’ll know how to get things done because you’ll know your purpose. My why has always been the 1 in 5 children in America who lives in poverty.”

“When people ask me what the three most important issues facing the Congress are, I always say the same thing: our children, our children, our children. Their health, their education, the economic security of their families, a safe healthy environment where they can thrive, and a world at peace where they can reach their fulfillment.”

“Child care – children learning, parents earning, it’s all central to their well-being.”

“I congratulate Tufts for what is happening here at Elliot Pearson. It’s just remarkable.”  Tufts’ Eliot-Pearson Children’s School is a laboratory school that focuses on practice and research. 

Pelosi’s appearance is part of her “ ‘Speaker in the House’ series, which seeks to engage communities across the country and ensure the voices of the American people are being heard in the halls of Congress,” according to Tisch College’s website.

MassLive.com covers the event here.

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