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Archive for the ‘Pre-kindergarten’ Category

“Sen. Sal DiDomenico recently testified before the Joint Committee on Education in support of his bill, S.265, An Act ensuring high-quality pre-kindergarten education. This legislation would expand preschool, using grants from the state, beginning with high-needs communities that are ready with a state-approved expansion plan.

“ ‘Across Massachusetts, people are ready for more preschool,’ said DiDomenico in his testimony before the Committee. ‘I have heard from countless parents who want this learning opportunity for their children, but often can’t afford it or are on waiting lists. Local communities, led by community-based programs, school districts, and mayors, have solid plans for preschool expansion and are waiting for new public dollars to begin implementation. That is why I filed this legislation, and I am confident this bill is an important next step towards improving and expanding high quality early education for our kids.’ ”

 

“DiDomenico Urges Action on High Quality Pre-K,” by Record Staff, Chelsea Record, July 18, 2019

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Brenda Casselius, the former Commissioner of Education for Minnesota and the newly named Superintendent of Boston Public Schools (BPS), welcomed the crowd and emphasized the importance of focusing not only on four-year-olds enrolled in pre-K but also on the critical first 1,000 days of a young child’s life. Casselius earned enthusiastic applause when she emphasized the importance of providing early education that is hands-on and play-based.

 

“I also had the chance to learn more about the past, present, and future of early education in Boston by attending a session led by Jeri Robinson, a long-time advocate of early learning in Boston and a member of the Boston School Committee, and Rahn Dorsey, Boston’s first Chief of Education. This session was filled with out-of-state attendees interested in learning how to improve and expand their own pre-K programs. Robinson discussed Mayor Marty Walsh’s $15 million investment in his FY20 budget to help guarantee free pre-K for all Boston four-year-olds within five years. The money should allow for the creation of 750 pre-K seats in community-based organizations (CBOs) across the city.”

 

“… Boston continues to serve as a promising example of how to improve the quality of pre-K and the early elementary grades. Its efforts so far offer many lessons and takeaways for other school districts.”

 

“Boston Early Ed Conference Draws Participants From Across the Country,” By Aaron Loewenberg, New America blog post, July 1, 2019

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Jessica Merrill, Titus DosRemedios, Kelly Savarese, Dawn DiStefano, Nicole Penney, Kim Davenport, Grace Cruz, Efrain Ponce Hamlet, Amy O’Leary, Clifford Kwong, Lisa Van Thiel. Photo courtesy of Kim Davenport.

Last week, there was a standing-room-only hearing at the Massachusetts State House where parents, teachers, and advocates called on elected officials to increase access to high-quality, affordable child care, expand preschool, increase educator salaries, and other priorities.

“Right now many parents struggle to access affordable childcare, and they often choose to stay home to avoid expensive daycare,” WWLP.com reports on the issues covered at the hearing, adding:

“Expanding full-day preschool would give parents the option of going back to work on a part-time or full-time basis.”

The multi-generational impact of having more preschool programs for children that would make it easier for parents to go work would be hugely beneficial for Massachusetts. This could be accomplished by a number of bills that were discussed at the hearing including: (more…)

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Before you fire up the grill for your July 4th barbecue, come to the State House to advocate for young children and families.

Each legislative session, every bill that is filed gets a public hearing.

For early education and care bills, that hearing is 10 a.m. tomorrow, July 2, 2019, at the State House in room B-2.

Can’t come to the hearing in person? Click this link to send an email to your legislators.

Here at Strategies for Children, our top legislative priority is a preschool expansion bill:

An Act Ensuring High Quality Pre-Kindergarten Education (H.551S.265), was filed in 2019, 2017, and 2015. This bill would expand preschool by investing in high-needs communities that already have state-approved expansion plans. We’ve posted the bill’s fact sheet here. (more…)

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Samantha Aigner-Treworgy

Congratulations to Samantha Aigner-Treworgy.

She has been chosen as the new commissioner of Massachusetts’ Department of Early Education and Care.

Aigner-Treworgy will leave her job as chief of early learning for the City of Chicago and start her new job later this summer.

“I look forward to working with Ms. Aigner-Treworgy as the next commissioner. She brings a depth of experience in early education that will benefit child care providers and preschools, as well as children and their families across the Commonwealth,” Massachusetts Education Secretary James Peyser says in a press release.

“Ms. Aigner-Treworgy is highly qualified to head the department at this critical juncture, leading to even greater impact and supporting positive outcomes for all young children served, including our most vulnerable,” Early Education and Care Board Chair Nonie Lesaux also says in the press release.

Aigner-Treworgy says of her new job, “I have spent my career working to improve the lives of young children and families across the country, and I couldn’t be more excited to come back to my home state to build on the great foundation and legacy of early childhood leadership in Massachusetts.” (more…)

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Retired Brigadier Generals Jack Hammond and Gary Pappas. Photo courtesy of Mission:Readiness.

 

Retired Brigadier Generals Jack Hammond and Gary Pappas came to Boston earlier this month to talk about the link between child care and the military – and about the findings in a new, related report, “Child Care and National Security: How greater access to high-quality child care in Massachusetts can help improve military readiness.”

The upshot: high-quality child care is a key ingredient in preparing children to become successful adults who could serve in the military. But right now, most of this state’s potential military candidates could not join the armed forces because of poor health, limited educational attainment, and histories of illegal activities.

“If a basic part of the population, 70 percent roughly [in Massachusetts], cannot pass a simple entrance exam,” Pappas says in an NECN interview, “you have a recruiting problem.” (more…)

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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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