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Archive for the ‘Pre-K to 3’ Category

The second of a three-part series on summer learning.

 

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

 

Summer is a great time to learn.

But as we blogged last week, summer learning loss — all the things that students forget when they are not in school — can help fuel the achievement gap.

A National Summer Learning Association report says that high-quality programs can address learning loss, but only “about one-third of young people nationally are enrolled in a summer learning program.”

Fortunately, in Massachusetts, cities are closing the summertime gap in creative ways.

Action at the city level is crucial according to a 2016 report on a workshop’s proceedings. Published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, the report notes:  (more…)

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

The first of a three-part series on summer learning.

It’s summer! The perfect time for kids to eat hot dogs, swim, and, forget big chunks of what they learned in school – especially math.

It’s a problem that parents, teachers, academics, and think tanks have pointed to; and this spring, the Herald-Tribune reported on summer learning loss – also known as “summer slide” – noting:

“While school is out, kids can lose up to two to three months of the skills they learned in the classroom that year.

“And while summer slide disproportionately affects low-income families who can’t afford high-quality summer camps that build on the reading and math skills learned in the classroom, all kids are at risk.”

Back in 1906, William White found the same problem when he conducted a very small study. A math teacher at the State Normal School, in New Paltz, New York, White tested the math skills of 15 fourth and eighth grade students in June and then tested them again in September. (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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A series featuring communities that have a plan to expand preschool.

Photo: Courtesy of Stephanie Adornetto

 

In Pittsfield, we know how important early education is. Children who don’t get a strong start can’t read proficiently by third grade. In our city, 2017 MCAS data shows that only 44 percent of third graders are proficient in English and only 44 percent are proficient in math. We want to see these numbers improve because, to put it bluntly, children who struggle to read may also struggle to succeed.

Because helping children takes a team approach, in 2012, the Berkshire United Way formed Pittsfield Promise, a coalition focused on ensuring that our third-graders can read proficiently. To achieve this goal, members of the coalition work closely with early childhood programs, social service and health providers, businesses, and community members.

In 2016, Pittsfield was awarded a preschool expansion grant. We are using this funding to create a collaboration between the Pittsfield Public Schools and two local center-based early childhood programs.

In this mixed-delivery model, the Pittsfield Public Schools is the lead partner and fiduciary agent. (more…)

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

 

U.S Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has approved Massachusetts’ plan for ESSA – the Every Student Succeeds Act. And as we’ve blogged, while ESSA covers K-12, it includes opportunities “to support the birth-through-grade-three continuum.”

In a press release, DeVos says:

“I continue to be heartened by the ways in which states have embraced the flexibility afforded to them under ESSA.”

“I want to thank Acting Commissioner Jeff Wulfson, Governor Charlie Baker and all the stakeholders that contributed to Massachusetts’ plan. This plan also serves as a testament to the leadership of the late Commissioner Mitchell Chester, who remains greatly missed.”

Submitted by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE), the ESSA plan covers a number of goals for improving K-12 education that involve early education. (more…)

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Screenshot of New America’s report.

 

What does high-quality pre-K look like?

It depends on where you look, according to a new report from the think tank New America.

“Since publicly funded pre-K programs are guided by varying intents, regulations, and funding approaches, there is little continuity in early learning. There are uneven standards for program quality, variable hours of coverage, incongruent eligibility requirements, and competing demands for accountability.”

Despite this “uneven” practice, the research does provide clear answers of what quality looks like.

To get a sharp picture of quality, New America’s report — “Indispensable Policies & Practices for High-Quality Pre-K: Research & Pre-K Standards Review” — “synthesizes recent meta-analyses and other studies” and “analyzes existing pre-K quality standards.”

Six themes emerged from this process: (more…)

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Screenshot: The Ounce’s website

 

Like most states, Massachusetts has limited data on its birth-to-5 early education and care system, making it difficult for us to answer basic questions such as “Where are all the 4-year-olds?”

Elliot Regenstein wants to change that. He’s the plain-spoken author of “An Unofficial Guide to the Why and How of State Early Childhood Data Systems,” which was just released by The Ounce, a national nonprofit that advocates for children.

“This is not one of those policy papers that earnestly describes how the world is supposed to be—this guide is a zealous exploration of how the world actually is,” Regenstein, the director of policy and advocacy at The Ounce, writes.

The unofficial guide is one of a series of “policy conversations” that The Ounce is sharing to “rethink education.” The policy conversations cover “innovative ideas about how we can bridge the early education and K–12 systems, improving the quality and outcomes of both.”

How can data help this effort?  (more…)

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