Archive for the ‘K-12’ Category

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Worcester, Mass., wants to do more for its children by offering trauma-informed care.

The city’s goal is to look at what scientists call ACES — adverse childhood experiences — and understand their impact on children and how these impacts can cause health problems once children are grown.

“We had been thinking about the vulnerability of our populations in Worcester,” Kim Davenport says of work that was going on around the city. Davenport is the managing director for Birth to 3rd Grade Alignment at Edward Street Child Services.

Among the city entities that were thinking about children was Worcester Hears, a local coalition focused on bringing together “advances in brain science, child development, and best practices to address childhood adversity” to help public school students. (more…)

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

What if children started getting ready for kindergarten a few years before they were old enough to go?

Turns out, the children and their parents are better off, as David Jacobson writes in a new Kappan magazine article, “A powerful convergence: Community schools and early childhood education.” Jacobson is a principal researcher and technical assistance adviser at the Education Development Center here in Massachusetts, as we’ve blogged before. He is also the author of The P-3 Learning Hub blog.

What is a community school? It’s a place where school leaders work with community organizations, health care providers, and others to give students an education — and connect them a full range of services, from afterschool programs to dental care. These schools can become “centers of the community” that “are open to everyone – all day, every day, evenings and weekends,” according to the Coalition for Community Schools.

Community schools are also having a huge impact on early education, as Jacobson explains in his Kappan article:  (more…)

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children


Next time a child says, “tell me a story,” ask them instead to tell you a story. It may help them become stronger readers.

New research shows this may be particularly true for African-American boys.

Strong storytelling skills correlate with better reading in some children, according to researchers at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute (FPG) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“Knowing how to tell a clear and coherent story is an important skill for helping young children to develop strong reading skills, which, in turn, can help them to be successful across a number of different subjects in school,” says Nicole Gardner-Neblett, an FPG advanced research scientist. (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

The Trump administration has released its budget proposal, and there’s mixed news for education: some budget cuts and some budget increases. So far, there is no word on budget proposals for Head Start and other early childhood programs.

As the National Women’s Law Center explained in an email, Trump has released a “skinny budget” that lists some details about “spending priorities” including “very deep cuts to non-defense discretionary programs while increasing defense spending by $54 billion.” The center analyzes the budget’s impact on families here.

But bear in mind that Trump’s budget is only a proposal. Congress will be hammering out its own budget for the nation.

For now, however, here’s what we know about Trump’s budget. (more…)

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children


Many organizations are keeping an eye on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the federal K-12 education law that replaces No Child Left Behind.

But CEELO (the Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes) is looking explicitly at how states’ early education programs can help enhance ESSA.

CEELO is one of “22 Comprehensive Centers funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education,” and its goal is to “strengthen the capacity of State Education Agencies (SEAs) to lead sustained improvements in early learning opportunities and outcomes” by promoting “innovation and accountability.”

A good starting point for learning more about ESSA is the list of resources that CEELO has on its website. (more…)

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Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children


“We know from human history and the latest learning science that success comes from the combination of academic knowledge and the ability to work with others. We need public education to reflect this broader definition of success, and this commission is well positioned to point the way.”
– Walter Isaacson, president and CEO of the Aspen Institute



From pre-K to 12th grade, having strong social and emotional learning (SEL) skills — such as listening, working well with others, and delaying gratification — is a crucial ingredient for long-term success.

To provide more information and leadership, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has launched a new webpage called Social and Emotional Learning in Massachusetts. (more…)

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Policy is changing for K-12 schools.

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

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

Here in Massachusetts, districts and schools are unpacking newly released MCAS and PARCC scores and deciphering what these scores mean for learning and accountability. At the same time, Massachusetts is developing a next-generation MCAS that will be administered in the spring.

On the federal level, the “No Child Left Behind” law was reauthorized as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA); and state officials are working on our plan for this new law.

All of this is activity is important, but K-12 can’t achieve the success we all want without integrating early learning.

Learning begins at birth; the research on this point is clear. Children need a strong early learning foundation and a range of supportive efforts that stretch through their first eight years, from birth to third grade.

Despite the proven power of early learning, there are very few government mandates to provide these early learning supports. This absence does, however, (more…)

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