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Archive for the ‘Strategies for Children’ Category

Interns are an important part of our community here at Strategies for Children. They bring fresh eyes and new ideas, and they enable us to extend our reach in the work we do with communities and legislators.

Currently, we have four interns whom we’re happy to introduce: Vivian Terkel-Gat, Annapurna Ayyappan, Marisa Fear, and Casey Peeks. Here’s a little more about each of them.

 

Vivian Terkel-Gat

Vivian Terkel-Gat

I am currently a student in the Graduate Program of Gender, Policy, and Leadership at the University of Massachusetts Boston. I received a master’s degree in Educational Counseling for Early Education from Tel-Aviv University. In Israel, I worked for the Ministry of Education for 15 years as an educational counselor.

As a graduate intern with Strategies for Children, I research local governance models in different states. This research helps inform Strategies’ local Community Readiness initiative as well as its state-level advocacy and policy agenda for high-quality early education.

During my Strategies internship, I have learned about Massachusetts’ complex early education system. I have also learned about how advocacy works on the local and state level: how organizations form coalitions and work together to achieve mutual goals. Amy and Titus welcomed my participation in community meetings and at various events that Strategies has hosted. They also answered my many questions about early education and helped me choose a topic for a policy brief that I wrote. My internship has been an insightful experience. (more…)

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

 

Here at Strategies for Children, we want to say thank you to Tom Weber. He has announced that he will step down as commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) in June.

“We are grateful for Tom Weber’s commitment as Commissioner of Early Education and Care. During his six years as commissioner, he led EEC out of its historic fiscal low point, which was caused by the effects of the Great Recession,” Chris Martes, Strategies’ president and CEO, says in a statement.

“Since 2013, Massachusetts has made steady progress on early education, and thanks to Commissioner Weber’s leadership, the early education and care field is in a much stronger position, both fiscally and programmatically. We have seen increased public investments in the early education workforce, in program quality, and in preschool expansion during his tenure. He is a tireless advocate for young children and families, and we wish him all the best in his future endeavors.” (more…)

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

 

At a recent meeting of the Early Education and Care Workforce Council, The Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) announced the recipients of the fiscal year 2019 preschool expansion grants.

Known as Commonwealth Preschool Partnership Initiative (CPPI), the program awarded funding to six communities: New Bedford, Somerville, North Adams, Springfield, Lowell, and Boston. The funds will support preschool programs from February 1 through June 30, 2019. EEC expects to renew these grants in fiscal year 2020.

This round of preschool expansion is funded with state dollars. However, more state funds will be needed in FY2020 to meet the demand for preschool funding from other communities. A total of 12 communities applied for the CPPI grant, and at least three additional communities wanted to apply but didn’t because of their limited time and capacity to meet the January 4th deadline. (more…)

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“It’s like getting the band back together,” Pat Haddad (D-Somerset), Speaker Pro Tempore of the House, said of herself and some her colleagues who gathered at the State House on Tuesday for “Looking Back to Look Forward,” a Strategies for Children celebration of the tenth anniversary of An Act Relative to Early Education and Care, which became law in 2008.

Speaker Pro Tempore Pat Haddad

Sponsored by Haddad and Senator Robert Antonioni (D-Leominster) and signed into law by Governor Deval Patrick, the new legislation was a bright step forward. It officially established Massachusetts’ Universal Pre-K (UPK) program, and outlined the responsibilities of the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) and for its board and commissioner.

“We had to block out some of the people who were naysayers,” Haddad said at the Looking Back event. But now, she explained, more and more legislators understand that building a universal pre-K program is “the right thing to do.”

The Legislature has never been able to fully fund UPK, but it has made progress, investing in scholarships for early educators and leveraging the power of federal preschool grant funds. (more…)

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Presidential Seminar panelists. Front row: Zaina Cahill and Rachel Giannini. Back row: Llanet Montoya, Mary Graham, and Amy O’Leary.

 

Earlier this month at the NAEYC Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., the Presidential Seminar featured a panel discussion about advocacy with both seasoned advocates and newer advocates who are just finding their advocacy voices.

“To achieve universally accessible, high-early early education and care in our country, we need to build a broad-based movement that is organized, guided and supported by a diverse leadership that has as its core the voices of those who directly work with children and families,” the panel’s description explains, adding that to make a difference for children, families, and the field, early educators should understand that, “We are the ones we have been waiting for – we need to be the change we want to see in the world!”

The panel was planned and moderated by Amy O’Leary, NAEYC’s president and the director of Strategies for Children’s Early Education for All campaign.

The panel discussion was also featured in the Education Dive article, “Panelists stress need for educators to play dual role as pre-K policy advocates.” (more…)

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Please join Strategies for Children at the State House at10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, December 11, 2018, for Looking Back to Look Forward — a celebration of the tenth anniversary of the law that formally established Massachusetts’ Universal Pre-Kindergarten program. 

The bill — An Act Relative to Early Education and Care (Chapter 215 of the Acts of 2008) — was signed into law by Governor Deval Patrick. This landmark legislation was sponsored by Education Committee Co-Chairs Senator Robert Antonioni and Representative Patricia Haddad, and it passed unanimously in both the House and Senate.

This legal victory built on progress that was made in 2005, when Massachusetts became the first state in the nation to launch an independent, consolidated department with a primary focus on early childhood learning and care, the Department of Early Education and Care. This achievement was the culmination of years of work by advocates and policymakers. A report and executive summary from the Rennie Center cover this history. (more…)

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Free tonight?

Come to the Wheelock Family Theater and join us for a screening of “No Small Matter,” a film about the power of high-quality early education.

The film features “stories of real children, families, and teachers, illustrating the impact of high-quality early childhood experiences.”

“No Small Matter” is also “firmly grounded in science… opening up the ‘black box’ of what’s happening inside children’s brains with exciting, stimulating animation and the voices of compelling scientists, physicians, and ECE experts,” the press kit explains.

The film is “designed to kick-start the public conversation about early care and education.”

To promote this conversation, tonight’s screening will include a reception and a panel discussion. Here’s the full agenda: (more…)

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