Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Massachusetts Cities and Towns’ Category

 

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

*

My name is Lesley Byrne, and I work as a pre-K teacher in the Lowell Public Schools. I had worked in early childhood education for seven years when, in 1993, the Lowell initiated the first pre-K programs in its schools. I knew this was where I wanted to be, as I have always believed that providing a positive, first-school experience for families can lead to future school success. I was excited to work toward offering these experiences for children and families. 

For a few years, I was involved in The Family Literacy Program, a collaboration between the Lowell Adult Education program and the Early Childhood Education program. Imagine you’re a parent who is new to this country. You don’t understand English or American culture. Now imagine sending your child to a “foreign” school! The Family Literacy Program aimed to support these families. The program offered classes in English as a Second Language to parents of pre-K children. As one of the pre-K teachers at this time, I got to use my skills not only to educate and support the children in my class, but also to work with parents on how to support their child’s learning at home. It was one of the most rewarding experiences of my teaching career.  (more…)

Read Full Post »

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

 

This year’s MCAS test results have been released.

And while this assessment of Massachusetts students is 25 years old, this year’s results are part of a “new generation” of testing that’s designed “to measure how a school or district is doing and what kind of support it may need,” according to a press release from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).

The next-generation MCAS “is more comprehensive than the previous system and complies with the 2015 federal Every Student Succeeds Act.” This is the second year that the new MCAS has been administered, so this year’s results can only be compared to last year’s – and not to earlier years.

Students’ test scores are sorted into one of four assessment categories:

• exceeding expectations

• meeting expectations

• partially meeting expectations, and

• not meeting expectations

The year’s results are similar to last year’s, the press release notes. In English and math, “approximately 50 percent of the students who took the test scored Meeting Expectations or above.” (more…)

Read Full Post »

 

Members of the Massachusetts Education Equity Partnership. Source: Education Trust’s Twitter page.

 

Massachusetts is a great place to get a K-12 education — but not for everyone.

Many students in this state do extremely well on a national standardized test called the National Assessment of Educational Progress or NAEP. A May 2018 report from the state’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) says:

• “Massachusetts tied for first place on the grades 4 and 8 NAEP reading assessments,” and

• “On the NAEP mathematics assessments, Massachusetts tied for first with five other states at grade 4 and one other state on grade 8.”

But not every student does this well. Massachusetts is also home to “glaring and persistent disparities in opportunity and achievement that separate low-income students and students of color from their peers.”

That’s the finding of a new report called, “#1 for Some: Opportunity and Achievement in Massachusetts,” that has been released by the Massachusetts Education Equity Partnership, a growing coalition of nonprofit organizations. Strategies for Children is one of 15 current members. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Tasheena M. Davis and her son Noah

 

Earlier this week, officials in Springfield, Mass., broke ground on Educare Springfield, a new early education facility.

How important is this kind of progress? One answer comes from Tasheena M. Davis, a parent who spoke at the ground breaking. Here’s a printed version of what she said: (more…)

Read Full Post »

 

How hard is it to get from preschool to kindergarten?

According to Nobel Prize-winning economist James Heckman, many children find themselves moving from one silo to the next.

“Too often government officials design programs for children as if they lived their lives in silos, as if each stage of a child’s life were independent of the other, unconnected to what came before or what lies ahead.”

A new report — Transitions and Alignment: From Preschool to Kindergarten — released by the Education Commission of the States shares this Heckman quote and looks at how some policymakers and educators are replacing silos with more promising pathways that help children travel safely from infancy to adulthood.

“If this transition does not go well,” the report says, “children can be turned off to learning and school at an early age.”

The report points to two strategies for promoting children’s success: (more…)

Read Full Post »

Photo: Amy O’Leary for Strategies for Children

 

On Monday, civic partners gathered in the city of Springfield and broke ground on what will be a $14 million Educare Center, a school that will open next year and provide “a full-day and full-year program for up to 141 children from birth to age five each year,” MassLive.com reports.

As we’ve blogged, Springfield’s educators and philanthropists have called this Educare project a “dream come true,” one that promises to provide the city’s children with increased access to a high-quality early education program.

Educare “began in Chicago in 2000,” public radio station WAMC reports. It’s a research-based model that has four core features: “data utilization, embedded professional development, high-quality teaching practices, and intensive family engagement,” according to Educare’s website.

“Among the innovations at Educare,” WAMC adds, “is the placement of teachers (more…)

Read Full Post »

Governor Charlie Baker (directly in front of Curious George) announces new facilities grants at the Crispus Attucks Children’s Center in Dorchester.

 

This summer, Massachusetts awarded $4 million in grants to help early education and after-school programs improve their physical spaces. The money comes from the Early Education and Care and Out of School Time (EEOST) Capital Fund, which was created by the state Legislature.

As we’ve blogged before, engaging classrooms, lively safe playgrounds, and well-designed bathrooms are some of the key features that create nurturing environments for young children.

But programs often can’t afford the costs of badly needed construction and renovations. That’s why these capital improvement funds are so important.

In a statement, Governor Charlie Baker said, “Renovating and repairing facilities helps achieve our goal of improving the quality of early education and care.” (more…)

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: