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Archive for the ‘Guest Blog’ Category

A series featuring communities that have a plan to expand preschool.

Photo: Courtesy of Stephanie Adornetto

 

In Pittsfield, we know how important early education is. Children who don’t get a strong start can’t read proficiently by third grade. In our city, 2017 MCAS data shows that only 44 percent of third graders are proficient in English and only 44 percent are proficient in math. We want to see these numbers improve because, to put it bluntly, children who struggle to read may also struggle to succeed.

Because helping children takes a team approach, in 2012, the Berkshire United Way formed Pittsfield Promise, a coalition focused on ensuring that our third-graders can read proficiently. To achieve this goal, members of the coalition work closely with early childhood programs, social service and health providers, businesses, and community members.

In 2016, Pittsfield was awarded a preschool expansion grant. We are using this funding to create a collaboration between the Pittsfield Public Schools and two local center-based early childhood programs.

In this mixed-delivery model, the Pittsfield Public Schools is the lead partner and fiduciary agent. (more…)

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This is a guest blog by Strategies for Children intern Kathryn Zimmerman. Kathryn is entering her senior year at Boston College, and she expects to graduate in May, 2018, with a major in Applied Psychology and Human Development and a minor in Sociology.

I have greatly enjoyed my eight months at Strategies for Children (SFC). After being connected to Strategies through my instructor and research boss Kyle DeMeo Cook, I was nervous and excited when I started as an intern last January. I had never worked for a non-profit or for such a small organization. However, I quickly realized that I loved the culture and environment at Strategies. The staff is in this field because they care about and enjoy doing this work. Since there are only a few employees, everyone was very welcoming and took the time to get to know me. I felt like I was an integral part of the team; doing important work for children, their families, and the state.

During my time at Strategies, I learned important lessons. To accomplish anything in this field, you have to be creative and willing to share ideas, even if they get turned down. This field is still new, so there’s no formulaic way of solving problems. Thus, the people who are truly good at this work understand the field and find creative ways to introduce new programs or advocate at the state level. I like to think that while I was here, I started to develop my own voice and share my own thoughts and ideas. (more…)

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A guest post by Sally Fuller, Project Director of Reading Success by 4th Grade, part of the Irene E. & George A. Davis Foundation

David Lawrence Jr. spoke with energy and insight at last month’s Business Champions for Children event. Held at Springfield’s Basketball Hall of Fame on July 10, 2017, the event’s goal was to increase the momentum of Massachusetts’ investments in young children.

Lawrence, the former publisher of the Miami Herald, is the chair of the Children’s Movement of Florida. And as a grandfather of eight children, it’s no surprise to hear him say in this video, “I simply became convinced… that the whole future of my community and my country depends on doing right, particularly in the early childhood years.”

Massachusetts is ripe for this kind of action. (more…)

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By guest blogger Titus DosRemedios

A child’s transition to kindergarten is an important educational milestone. Making that transition a success requires a team effort from teachers, principals, community partners, and families.

One inspiring example of such a team effort took place on August 4, 2016, at the Buttonwood Park Zoo where the New Bedford Public Schools in partnership with P.A.C.E. Inc. held a “Smooth Sailing into Kindergarten” event for entering kindergarten students and their families. The event was designed so that children could meet their new teachers and principals, and so that families could learn more about their child’s school and other resources available in the community.

Sunshine, fun activities, and a welcoming atmosphere helped make this event compelling and fun. The Standard-Times reports, “At the zoo, the children enjoyed various activities the principals and teachers set up, among them bubble-blowing, photo-taking, a train ride and a guest-reader appearance by author Laura Vaughn.”

To highlight the event and create lasting memories each student received a family portrait from Lifetouch, marking their journey into the New Bedford Public Schools. (more…)

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SSIK Cover

By guest blogger Titus DosRemedios

By now, regular readers of this blog are well aware that learning begins at birth and that the process of getting children ready for kindergarten begins long before their first day of school. That’s why New Bedford’s community-based early education programs are collaborating with public school leaders, human services providers, and many other partners to improve kindergarten readiness.

To reinforce the importance of kindergarten readiness throughout the provider community, the New Bedford Birth to Third Alignment Partnership held a kick-off event at Keith Middle School on October 13, offering both an a.m. and p.m. session and drawing more than 50 attendees.

Superintendent Pia Durkin was on hand to reinforce the importance of early childhood from the district’s perspective and to applaud the collaboration happening in the community. “Our motto is ‘We’re building an excellent school system,’ but we know we can’t do it alone,” Durkin told attendees. “We need partners.” (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Today’s post about earned paid sick time was written by guest blogger Nicole Rodriguez, a policy analyst at MassBudget (the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center). Next week on Election Day, voters can weigh in on this issue by voting “Yes” or “No” on Ballot Question 4.

As National Work and Family Month draws to a close, we are reminded that many families are struggling to balance the demands of work and caregiving responsibilities.

Nearly all workers experience family illness, personal health issues, or the need to care for a sick child. Yet many workers lack access to earned paid sick time.

In Massachusetts about 1 in 3 workers don’t have access to earned paid sick time. And those least likely to have it are the lowest wage workers. This is particularly (more…)

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