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Archive for the ‘Massachusetts Cities and Towns’ Category

 

Massachusetts has received great news.

The state’s federal Preschool Expansion Grant (PEG) program “had a powerful impact on children’s early academic skills. The program proved effective for all children on average,” Yahoo Finance reports.

The analysis of the PEG grant was conducted by Abt Associates.

Among Abt’s findings, according to a press release:

“PEG improved children’s readiness for kindergarten by providing:

• a sizable positive impact on children’s early literacy and math skills, and

• a smaller positive impact on vocabulary skills.”

“PEG had an even bigger impact on children from homes where English was not the primary language and for children with no prior formal child care experience,” Education Dive adds. (more…)

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“I am a product of early education and care; and my daughter is a product of it as well,” Nikki Burnett told us recently. Burnett’s daughter is currently a student at Howard University.

As for Burnett herself she has come full circle. Born and raised in Massachusetts, in Springfield’s Mason Square neighborhood, Burnett worked for over a decade as a senior administrator at the American Heart Association. Now she’s back in Mason Square working as the executive director of the new Educare Springfield center, which just opened this month and is already at full enrollment.

Educare is an evidence-based national network of 25 early education programs with the sweeping goal of figuring out “the most effective and the most promising ways to work with each individual child and each individual family, and we do that with excitement and passion for the work,” according to Charlotte Brantley, the president and CEO of the Clayton Early Learning, Educare Denver.

Burnett echoes this ambition, explaining, “We may only have 141 children enrolled, but we are beholden to the education of all children.” Educare’s approach is to innovate and share its work on preparing young children to succeed in school. Burnett wants to ensure that all the children whose lives she touches aren’t struggling to catch up in kindergarten – as well as in first, second, and third grade. (more…)

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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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We join our early education colleagues in Massachusetts and across the country in remembering Betty Bardige, who passed away last month.

Betty was a fierce advocate for children and families. She was a developmental psychologist and an expert on early language development. She was a long-time resident of Cambridge, Mass., who served for nearly two decades on the board of the Cambridge Community Foundation. And she was a co-author of the book “Children at the Center,” which tells the story of Boston Public Schools’ preschool program.

As her website makes clear, Betty wanted every child to start school with a “wealth of words.”

In her book, “Talk to Me, Baby!: How You Can Support Young Children’s Language Development,” Betty reminds of us how much power word wealth can have, writing: (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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Photo: Titus DosRemedios

 

A new early childhood champion is being born: Wednesday, January 1, 2020 will be the official start of One SouthCoast Chamber, a regional chamber of commerce that covers Fall River, New Bedford, and parts of Rhode Island.

And the new organization — which unites the SouthCoast Chamber of New Bedford and the Bristol County Chamber of Fall River — has already announced a key area of focus: early childhood education.

“Over the next few months, business leaders and educators will collaborate to develop a plan to expand high-quality pre-kindergarten and childcare in the region, particularly in Fall River and New Bedford,” a SouthCoast Today article says.

And Brian LeComte, the incoming chairman of the One SouthCoast Chamber board, tells SouthCoast Today:

“The business community wants to have a positive impact on the success of our region and there is no greater success we can champion than early childhood education.” (more…)

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