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Photo: Rhode Island Governor (and Caped Crusader) Gina Raimondo. Source: Governor Raimondo’s Flickr account.

 

Thanks to the smart use of best practices, Rhode Island is leading the way on special education practices in pre-K.

We recently learned more about Rhode Island’s efforts from Lisa Nugent, the state’s Coordinator of Early Learning.

Rhode Island is a good example of success because it got a late start on building its pre-K system. But this delay enabled Rhode Island to learn from other states and choose effective strategies for serving young children.

Like Massachusetts, Rhode Island has a mixed delivery model. Children can attend programs in schools, centers, and through Head Start.

Across these settings, one of the state’s priorities is providing high-quality special education in early childhood settings through the Itinerant Early Childhood Special Education (IECSE) program. (more…)

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Here’s what you need to know about the upcoming presidential election schedule.

Massachusetts and 13 other states (as well as American Samoa) will hold their presidential primaries on Tuesday, March 3, 2020.

In Massachusetts, Wednesday, February 12, 2020 is the LAST DAY to register to vote or change your party for the upcoming primary.

One crucial step: Make sure you are registered to vote. Click here to check.

If you are registered – don’t forget to VOTE on March 3.

If you are not registered, click here. It’s easy to register online.

Like to plan ahead? You can see the ballot for the primary here.

For more information about Election 2020 click here.

And be sure to encourage everyone you know to #VOTE.

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Spread the word: On Wednesday, April 1, 2020, everyone will be able to fill out the Census 2020 form.

It’s a small act with huge consequences. Every 10 years, the Census Bureau attempts to count everyone living in the United States.

And every 10 years, many people go uncounted, which can mean losing representation in Congress and losing crucial federal funding. In addition, state programs won’t have a clear count of their populations. Nor will researchers. And businesses won’t have a clear picture of the marketplace.

One commonly undercounted groups?

Children. (more…)

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What do businesses and parents have in common?

They both benefit from affordable, high-quality child care.

That’s why the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation has released a report – “Building Bridges Creating Strong Partnerships for Early Childhood Education” – that calls on the business community and early education advocates to find more opportunities to work together to develop “shared solutions.”

The need for solutions is clear. As the report explains, research shows that “the U.S. economy loses an astounding $57 billion per year in revenue, wages, and productivity as a result of issues related to childcare.”

To understand the ingredients of successful business/early education partnerships, the Chamber Foundation asked more than 150 business community members and early education advocates for their insights.

The result, JD Chesloff explains is that, “The report provides valuable guidance on how business leaders and advocates can work together to create more high-quality, affordable child care.” Chesloff is the executive director of the Massachusetts Business Roundtable, and he served for ten years on the board of Massachusetts’ Department of Early Education and Care.

“The report acknowledges up front that business leaders and advocates often have different agendas,” Chesloff adds. “That’s why they have to do the work to understand each other, communicate with each other, and share resources. That’s the formula for forming successful partnerships. And that’s why this report is a must read for anyone looking to make change in early childhood education.” (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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Facing a “crisis-level” shortage of child care, Colorado’s Senate has released the “Infant and Family Child Care Action Plan: A strategic action plan to address infant and family child care home shortages in Colorado.”

Colorado’s leadership in addressing this problem sets an example for states like Massachusetts where child care spots are also declining.

The plan notes in part:

“To maintain the momentum of our booming economy we need to support our working families. When that support comes in the form of access to safe, licensed child care, it in turn supports the healthy growth and development of Colorado’s next generation of thinkers, innovators, and workers.”

However, “licensed infant care has been decreasing since 2010. Additionally, family child care homes, sometimes the only accessible care option for families, have been declining for years. The loss of family child care homes also means the loss of significant numbers of licensed infant care. Although the decrease in family child care homes is consistent with national trends, Colorado currently exceeds the national average in the rate of overall decline. The impact of these decreases in licensed capacity is reflected in the fact that 25% of centers and 42% of homes reported having a wait list for infants.”

“To create a Colorado child care landscape where families can afford and access the care they need and want, Colorado must add at least 7000 infant slots in centers and over 200 family child care home providers.” (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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