Archive for the ‘Higher Education’ Category

“Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan are giving $30 million to Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to tackle one of the most perplexing problems in education — low literacy rates among elementary school students — officials announced Tuesday.

“A cornerstone of the five-year initiative, Reach Every Reader , will be the development of a Web-based screening tool, which could be used by districts nationwide, that aims to speed up the identification of kindergartners at high risk for reading difficulty. The screening tool will attempt to determine why students are struggling and will offer interventions that teachers and families can use to help children become stronger readers.

“The initiative also hopes to shift the conversation about poor literacy away from third-grade reading scores toward younger students. Officials believe early intervention can have the most profound effect on turning students into proficient readers.”

“Zuckerberg, Chan donate $30 million to literacy effort,” James Vaznis, The Boston Globe, March 6, 2018

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

In an increasingly bilingual world, Quinsigamond Community College (QCC) has an innovative program for training multilingual early educators.

For five years, QCC’s Dual Language Program has offered courses that are taught in English and Spanish to family childcare providers. Classes are offered during the day and at night to give students scheduling flexibility.

Connecting family child care providers to higher education is crucial work because these early educators are typically working on their own in their homes — where they may not have easy access to colleagues or to the onsite college classes that some center-based providers offer.

The goal of the dual language program “is to impart early childhood content first in the student’s native language with a gradual increase of English proficiency over the four course sequence,” QCC’s website explains.

According to Charlene Mara, QCC’s Early Childhood Education program manager, “It’s important to remember who the childcare providers are servicing. They are servicing many English-speaking children, so it’s very important to be proficient in English, as well as their native language.” (more…)

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This week we’re focusing on the early education workforce.

And today, we’re throwing back to 2011 when we released this video about early educator Doreen Anzalone.

She graduated from Everett High School in 1978.

She began working in early education and care in 1986.

And she got a scholarship and went to college in 2002.

Hers is a story of passion and persistence.

Take a look.

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children


“Why Are Our Most Important Teachers Paid the Least?” journalist Jeneen Interlandi asks in the title of a recent New York Times Magazine article.

The article tells the story of Kejo Kelly, an early educator in Springfield, Mass., who is devoted to her work despite earning a low salary, weathering personal tragedies, and covering for absent colleagues.

“The community Kelly taught in was low-income by all the standard metrics,” the article says. “Many of her students came from single-parent households — some from teenage mothers, at least one from foster care — and nearly all of them qualified for state-funded child care vouchers.”

Teachers at Kelly’s preschool program earn some $10 per hour, and staff turnover is high. The preschool can afford to “cover basics like food and art supplies but not enough to pay for on-site behavioral specialists or occupational therapists.” That’s why:

“Kelly kept her own fractured vigil — taking note of which students couldn’t control their emotions, or sit still for the life of them, or engage with others in a meaningful way — and giving those students whatever extra attention could be spared. She sometimes imagined the classroom as a bubble, inside which her students were temporarily spared from the hazards of everyday life. Her job, as she saw it, was to hold that bubble open for the ones who couldn’t always hold it open themselves.” (more…)

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JD Chesloff

We caught up with JD Chesloff, who just completed a 10-year term on the Board of Early Education and Care (EEC), and asked him about what he’s seen over the last decade.

As readers of this blog know, JD’s career includes working at Strategies for Children and in the State House. He was also chair of EEC’s Board, and he is currently the executive director of the Massachusetts Business Roundtable.

What has he seen as an EEC board member?

“The organization has matured over the last 10 years. It started out as a fledgling idea of having all of the early childhood activity in one place.”

“It’s grown up over that time and now it’s a clearly equal member at the education table with K-12 and higher education.”

JD praises the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) and its focus on ensuring that children and families have access to high-quality programs. The department has also wrestled with serving all children, making universal access part of its vision in a 5-Year Strategic Plan.

What was the most personally satisfying part of JD’s time on the Board? (more…)

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This is one of a series of blogs featuring first-person accounts from early educators across Massachusetts.

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My name is Susan Irene Rogers, and I work at Commonwealth Children’s Center (CCC) in Boston where I am the executive director. I have been in the early education field for 29 years! I started as a homework tutor at the age of 13.

In addition to working with children at a very young age, I was actually studying to become a firefighter. I was a senior in high school, and I was determined to accomplish both professions! At some point, my mother expressed her concerns regarding my safety as a female firefighter and said she would spend the rest of her life waiting to be informed that her child was fatally harmed. So, I enrolled at Northeastern University to study Early Childhood Education and Sociology. Less than a year later, I returned to NU to study American Sign Language.

The importance of my work as an early educator cannot be measured, but should certainly be valued. I truly love working with children and families and feel honored to experience this time in their lives. Assuring parents, especially first-time parents, that investing in their child’s early education experiences is one of the best choices they could ever make is THE most important part of my job.  (more…)

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Last month, MIT hosted the Governor’s Convening for Digital and Lifelong Learning.

The conference on new ideas in digital learning focused on a number of topics, including new opportunities for the early education and care workforce.

Speaking at the conference, Governor Charlie Baker asked:

“How do we as a commonwealth, given our rich and important history as a player in education find a way to maximize the opportunities associated with digital learning and innovation on behalf of our students and, frankly, our working people here in Massachusetts?”

Baker said that he and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, “run into employers over and over and over again who say that their single biggest impediment to growth is their ability to find people who can work for them.”

It’s a problem that’s well known in the early education field. (more…)

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