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Archive for the ‘Massachusetts Cities and Towns’ Category

“Rotting wood and rusted bolts at the Rainbow Child Development Center’s old play area have been replaced by brand-new playsets, thanks to the generosity of donors and a six-figure government grant.”*

“‘We know you have to have healthy, happy children for them to thrive academically,’ said the center’s executive director, Joyce Rowell, who explained the Rainbow Center has adopted a range of new programs and activities aimed at instilling healthy living habits in its students and their families. ‘It’s a whole mindset we’re trying to work on together.’”

“Unlike many private preschool centers, however, the Rainbow Center cannot rely on its clients to pay for those initiatives. It primarily serves low-income and single-parent families living in some of the area’s poorest neighborhoods, as well as students under the care of the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families, and derives around 85 percent of its funding from the state.”

“Worcester early education center serving at-risk students unveils new playspaces,” by Scott O’Connell, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, September 8, 2017

 


*Massachusetts’ Early Education and Out of School Time Capital Fund Program

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Worcester delegation to All-America City event: Erin Dobson, Tim Garvin, Patrick Lowe, Kim Davenport, Joanne Gravell, Amy O’Leary, Sally Fuller, Chris O’Keefe, and Steven Zrike.

Patrick Lowe used to send some his emails in the middle of the night. As a busy medical school student, this was sometimes the only time he had to work on Worcester’s application for an All-America City award.

Bestowed by the National Civic League and the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, the award recognized communities that helped “more young children from low-income families achieve grade-level reading proficiency and early school success.”

Kim Davenport, meanwhile, worked during the day, reading Lowe’s emails and working with him to submit a convincing application for the award. Davenport, the managing director of Birth to 3rd Grade Alignment at Edward Street Child Services, was steeped in the work of pooling resources from across the city to help young children succeed.

Worcester had won the award five times before. But not since 2000. (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Massachusetts has just announced the release of $4.1 million in facilities grants. Typically, these funds help early education and after school programs repair, renovate, and expand their buildings. This round of funding will focus on early education and care facilities that serve low-income children.

“Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito made the announcement at the Worcester Community Action Council’s (WCAC) early education program in Webster, the site of one of the facilities funded by the 2017 grant awards,” according to a press release from the state’s Executive Office of Education.

“Facility improvements like these, coupled with an already announced 6 percent rate increase for early education providers, ensure that more children have access to high-quality environments and staff that will improve their learning experience,” Governor Charlie Baker added. (more…)

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A guest post by Sally Fuller, Project Director of Reading Success by 4th Grade, part of the Irene E. & George A. Davis Foundation

David Lawrence Jr. spoke with energy and insight at last month’s Business Champions for Children event. Held at Springfield’s Basketball Hall of Fame on July 10, 2017, the event’s goal was to increase the momentum of Massachusetts’ investments in young children.

Lawrence, the former publisher of the Miami Herald, is the chair of the Children’s Movement of Florida. And as a grandfather of eight children, it’s no surprise to hear him say in this video, “I simply became convinced… that the whole future of my community and my country depends on doing right, particularly in the early childhood years.”

Massachusetts is ripe for this kind of action. (more…)

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“We don’t have to talk anymore about the value of early childhood education: everyone agrees it’s critical. We do, however, have to talk about affordability, logistics and policy. With preschool tuition running $10,000-$30,000 per year, the cost of sending one child to preschool can be more than a family’s rent or mortgage. Early childhood education is not just a child development issue, it’s an economic one…”

“To address this issue, the city convened an Early Childhood Task Force in 2014. Its 2015 report articulates the admirable vision that “all children in Cambridge [will] receive high quality early education and care from birth through third grade,” and recommends initial steps toward that goal…”

“To start this process, the council and committee will have a joint roundtable discussion this fall. One of the main tasks of the roundtable should be to set a deadline by which a comprehensive system of early childhood education will be in place. A deadline will force us to answer, sooner rather than later, the questions related to policy, financing, and logistics.

“Some of those questions are: (more…)

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A guest post by Chris Martes, President and CEO of Strategies for Children

Jason Sachs and Chris Martes testifying at the State House

Tuesday was a sunny June day, so you may have missed the State House hearing on a range of early education and care bills.

Amy O’Leary and I — along with our colleagues from cities and towns and other organizations — testified in support of “An Act ensuring high quality early education,” H.2874 filed by Representative Alice Peisch (D-Wellesley) and S.240 filed by Senator Sal DiDomenico (D-Everett).

We shared our goals with the Joint Committee on Education, chaired by Representative Peisch and Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz (D-Jamaica Plain).

Budgetwise, it’s a tough time to ask for more funding. Massachusetts’ revenue forecast can best be described as partly sunny with a chance of car-denting hail. Look for “modest growth” of 3.9 percent.

Fortunately, our bill is an ideal fit for these economic times. (more…)

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Today, the Massachusetts Legislature’s Joint Committee on Education will hold a hearing for early education and care bills filed in the 2017-2018 session. Strategies for Children (SFC) urges the committee to report favorably on An Act Ensuring High-Quality Early Education H.2874 and S.240, lead sponsors: Representative Alice Peisch (D-Wellesley) and Senator Sal DiDomenico (D-Everett).

 

The problem:

Massachusetts has a significant and persistent achievement gap that’s evident long before children enter school. Too many children show up for school already behind, and too many of them will never catch up. It’s time to level the playing field for Massachusetts children. The state could and should do more to invest in young children’s early learning.

Experts agree that high-quality preschool has a short- and long-term impact on young children’s educational, social and health outcomes. Preventing problems now, rather than remediating them later, is a cost-effective investment that benefits children and taxpayers alike.

High-quality preschool helps establish a strong foundation for children’s learning in K-12, but currently an estimated 40% of the commonwealth’s 3- and 4-year-olds are not enrolled in any formal preschool program. (more…)

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