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Archive for the ‘Pre-K to 3’ Category

Sally Fuller

Contrary to what you may have heard, Sally Fuller has not completely retired.

Strategies for Children is excited to announce that Fuller, a long-time colleague and friend, has joined our board.

“I have such tremendous respect for what Strategies has done and continues to do,” Fuller told us recently.

As we’ve blogged before, Fuller worked for the Irene E. & George A. Davis Foundation, where she started in 2005 as the project direct for Cherish Every Child, the foundation’s early childhood initiative.

“The Davis family cares deeply about education. That’s their overarching commitment,” Fuller explains. “They knew Margaret Blood,” the founder of Strategies for Children, “and they brought Margaret to Springfield to work with them.”

The Davis Foundation came to sum up its intentions in a single question, Fuller says: “How can we work together to put children at the center of the community’s agenda?”

“That’s how the Cherish Every Child initiative was started at the foundation, and they needed someone to work full time, so that’s why I went there.”

Fuller, the foundation, and community partners across Springfield worked on expanding early education opportunities and on ensuring that more of the city’s children could read proficiently by the third grade.

“We know from a childhood development standpoint how critical that was,” Fuller says of herself and John Davis (a senior director at the foundation), who had looked at the data and seen that only one third of Springfield’s children could read at grade level by the end of third grade. “We started to do this before it became fashionable. The National Campaign for Grade Level Reading started a year after we did. So, I can very honestly say that we were building the plane as we were flying it.” (more…)

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The path from birth to third grade ought to be an easy, exciting journey for children.

That’s the message that David Jacobson shared last week at “The First 10 Years: School and Community Initiatives to Improve Teaching, Learning, and Care,” an event hosted by the Washington, D.C., think tank, New America.

“…kindergarten needs to build on the learning and care that children experience in pre-kindergarten. And children need for the programs and services that they experience each year to be coordinated, meaning coordination between education, health, and social services,” Jacobson said at the event. 

Children need “alignment across the years; meaning that every year, we are building on and taking advantage of what children learned the previous year.” (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

 

Cities like Somerville work hard to boost children’s outcomes by making sure that preschool educators communicate with elementary school teachers.

Now a new research study points to some of the benefits of this approach.

The study – “Who benefits? Head start directors’ views of coordination with elementary schools to support the transition to kindergarten” – analyzes interviews of 16 Head Start directors.

The study found “numerous ways in which Head Start directors coordinate with elementary schools to share information about individual children and program practices,” according to the abstract.

This analysis “revealed that coordination may benefit children indirectly through both improved teaching practices, increased alignment and parent supports. Findings indicate the need for additional research to explore indirect links between coordination and children’s success.” (more…)

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The award-winning Reading Success by 4th Grade initiative is moving to a brand new and very appropriate home, the Springfield City Library.

Reading Success by 4th Grade is a nationally recognized, community-wide effort to ensure that all the children living in Springfield, Mass., can read proficiently by the end of third grade.

Launched in 2009, the program was run by Sally Fuller, and its home was the Irene E. & George A. Davis Foundation.

Now that Fuller has retired, Davis foundation officials want the initiative to have a home in the community.

Among the initiative’s guiding principles:

• the best interventions begin before kindergarten;

• parents and caregivers are their children’s first and most important teachers, and

• both home and educational environments must support children’s early literacy skills

The initiative has had notable success. It “was recognized at the national Grade-Level Reading Week conference in Denver in 2017 for initiating citywide strategies that raised the level of third-grade reading proficiency from 33 percent to 44 percent,” MassLive reports. (more…)

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Screenshot: Representative Alice Peisch’s Twitter page

 

On Friday, a large and diverse crowd – that included Governor Charlie Baker, New England Patriot football players, mayors, educators, parents, students, and legislators – gathered at the State House for an important hearing on education funding.

At the heart of the hearing were calls to update Chapter 70, the funding formula that calculates how much state funding Massachusetts public schools receive. The funding formula was put into place in 1993, and has not been updated in 26 years. In 2015, guidance for overhauling Chapter 70 was released in a report written by the Foundation Budget Review Commission, which was co-chaired by Senator Sonia Chang-Díaz (D-Boston), who was then a co-chair of the Joint Committee on Education, and by Representative Alice H. Peisch (D-Wellesley), House Chair of the Joint Committee on Education. (more…)

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Boston Mayor Marty Walsh meets with a young learner. Source: City of Boston Mayor’s Office’s Flickr page.

 

Boston has a long history of preschool progress. Starting under the administration of former Mayor Thomas Menino and continuing with Mayor Marty Walsh’s team, city officials have invested in quality, access, and innovation. Now, this work is featured in a new report — “A Focus on Teaching and Learning in Pre-K through 2nd Grade: Lessons from Boston” — from the think tank New America.

New America praises Boston for having a clear and lasting vision for expanding preschool, rather than “a series of priorities that shift every few years based on changes in district leadership.”

Thanks to a dynamic, public-private partnership, funding for this work came from the city and from funders like the Barr Foundation. (more…)

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Screenshot of NPR website

 

High-quality early education packs a powerful financial punch.

“You can think of having a better kindergarten teacher as being worth something like $300,000 for a classroom of students,” Harvard economist Raj Chetty said earlier this month in an episode of NPR’s Hidden Brain podcast.

In other words, a classroom of kids with a high-quality kindergarten teacher will earn $300,000 more than a classroom without a highly skilled teacher. What makes a good kindergarten teacher? Chetty says this isn’t fully known, but strong teachers have key skills such as the ability to manage a classroom, to help children focus, and to inspire them. (more…)

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