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Archive for the ‘K-12’ Category

“Two divides thwart the best efforts of American educators to improve outcomes for low-income children and their families.

“The first is the gap between early-childhood and K-12 education. The second is between K-12 education and health and social services. Typically these institutions operate in silos. Yet decades of research confirm that to best learn and thrive, children need early-childhood and elementary education to be aligned so that each year builds upon the last, and they need health and social services to be coordinated to maximize their positive impact.

“Over the past decade, I’ve had the opportunity to research and work with communities that are attempting to bridge these divides.”

“Despite working independently, these communities have diagnosed similar challenges to improving supports for children and families. In response, they are converging on a common set of innovative structures and strategies.”

 

“Four Strategies for Getting the First 10 Years of a Child’s Life Right,” by David Jacobson, Education Week, February 4, 2020

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

 

Across the country, K-12 schools are spreading their wings by working in the early education space. It’s an approach that promises to help more young children succeed as they transition into elementary school.

One example in the suburbs of Omaha, Neb., is Belleaire Elementary School, where providing a good education includes working with families before children are old enough to go to school.

“Belleaire is one of 10 schools in the Omaha metropolitan area that are rethinking the scope of early childhood education,” an EdSurge article says. “Traditionally, early childhood education focuses on serving children before they reach kindergarten. But more recently, researchers have begun to think about early childhood education as encompassing the first eight years—years that are critical for neural development and where early interventions can have a profound impact in later years.”

This is all part of Omaha’s Superintendents’ Early Childhood Plan, a $2.5 million per year initiative that’s funded by a tax measure. (more…)

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Amy O’Leary and Commissioner Samantha Aigner-Treworgy

 

What a year it has been at Strategies for Children! Here are some of our highlights:

• Looking back to look forward

In December of 2018, we gathered at the State House to celebrate the tenth anniversary of An Act Relative to Early Education and Care, which became law in 2008. “It’s like getting the band back together,” Pat Haddad (D-Somerset), Speaker Pro Tempore of the House, said of the many colleagues who joined us. At the event, Amy O’Leary moderated, and we heard from a lineup of speakers including Haddad, House Speaker Robert DeLeo (D-Winthrop), other state officials, and local early education program directors. Many of the speakers remarked that though they have had different roles over the last ten years, their commitment to high-quality early education for all remains strong.

It was also a year of transition at the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC). In June we thanked Commissioner Tom Weber for his six successful years of leadership. We then welcomed new EEC Commissioner Samantha Aigner-Treworgy back to Massachusetts with a “meet-and-greet” co-hosted by the early education field. We look forward to working with Commissioner Sam on a shared vision for her department’s future. (more…)

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Last month, Governor Charlie Baker signed the Student Opportunity Act into law – enacting a $1.5 billion investment in K-12 schools across the state that provides a badly needed update to the state’s school funding formula.

In addition — as we explain in this month’s Early Education for All update — the new law requires school districts to close the achievement gap through proven interventions. Several options are listed in the law, including “expanding early education and pre-kindergarten programming” by working with community-based organizations. (more…)

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Last month the event “Action for Boston Children: A Plan for BPS’ Future,” was held at The Boston Foundation. The panelists in this photograph are: Boston City Council President Andrea Campbell (at podium); Brenda Cassellius, Superintendent, Boston Public Schools; Latoya Gayle, Executive Director, Boston School Finder; Amy O’Leary, Director of Strategies for Children’s Education for All Campaign; and Paul Reville, Former Secretary of Education, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and a Harvard Graduate School of Education Professor.

 

“Today, until a child turns four or five, it can feel to families as though there is no place to go. The birth to four landscape is dominated by private providers that can be hard to find, and to afford. A patchwork of funding sources and cumbersome state and federal requirements that families cannot meet or do not understand contribute to locking out many children and families from access to quality childcare. We should start by asking what parents and families need to ensure that their children are on the strongest path to a life of learning and outcomes. And if we ask that question, it’s hard not to arrive at the conclusion that a comprehensive view of birth to five is the way forward.”

“Action for Boston Children,” a report released by Andrea Campbell, president of the Boston City Council, June 2019

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There’s an exciting, new education bill in the State House: the Student Opportunity Act.

It calls for “an unprecedented $1.5 billion new investment in Massachusetts public education,” a fact sheet says.

The bill also notes that K-12 education can benefit from strong preschool programs.

“The proposal — jointly announced by House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo, Senate President Karen E. Spilka, and other legislative leaders — aims to bridge the divide in educational opportunities between poor and affluent systems by directing more money to districts that serve greater concentrations of students living in poverty or those with language barriers,” the Boston Globe reports.

 

(more…)

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On Tuesday, September 10, 2019, Geoffrey Canada, president of the Harlem Children’s Zone, was the Stone Social Impact Forum speaker at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate.

In the audience were Amy O’Leary, the director of Strategies for Children’s Early Education for All Campaign, and Titus DosRemedios, Strategies’ director of research and policy.

Amy asked Canada about investing in early education. Here’s an edited version of their exchange.

Amy: “What is it going to take for us to change our priorities and invest more earlier to get the bigger outcome later?”

Canada: “The science on this is really clear, [but] we’ve got science that is not driving policy, and I think this is going to be another one of these movements. It’s one of the reasons that we are trying to advocate for comprehensive, cradle to career [approaches], which does not mean pre-K to career. It means cradle to career.

“The science on this stuff is really clear, what happens to those young brains when kids are six months, one year. And if you’re in communities where people don’t know how to stimulate those brains appropriately, that’s going to put that kid at a disadvantage. So the question is: What is it going to take? It’s going to take us not giving up. (more…)

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