Archive for the ‘Strategies for Children’ Category

Image: Screenshot from NAEYC's website

Image: Screenshot from NAEYC’s website


Turn off the television news for a while and tune into an inspiring election that’s all about children: NAEYC’s election for its 2017 Governing Board.

Here’s how the election process works:

“As a membership association governed by an elected board, NAEYC is committed to diverse leadership on the Governing Board. The slate for each year’s election is identified by the Nominating Panel. Candidates are chosen to reflect broad knowledge and awareness of the issues facing the Association. They are selected for their ability to objectively consider the variety of perspectives inherent in decisions affecting the Association’s future, not to represent a particular group, region, or interest.”  (more…)

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Policy is changing for K-12 schools.

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Chris Martes, president and CEO of Strategies for Children. Photo: Alyssa Haywoode

Here in Massachusetts, districts and schools are unpacking newly released MCAS and PARCC scores and deciphering what these scores mean for learning and accountability. At the same time, Massachusetts is developing a next-generation MCAS that will be administered in the spring.

On the federal level, the “No Child Left Behind” law was reauthorized as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA); and state officials are working on our plan for this new law.

All of this is activity is important, but K-12 can’t achieve the success we all want without integrating early learning.

Learning begins at birth; the research on this point is clear. Children need a strong early learning foundation and a range of supportive efforts that stretch through their first eight years, from birth to third grade.

Despite the proven power of early learning, there are very few government mandates to provide these early learning supports. This absence does, however, (more…)

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Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

Early education policies are all over the map — literally and figuratively. While some states are making big investments in very young children, others lag behind.

How are specific states doing? The Ounce of Prevention Fund, a national advocacy organization, takes a look in its August 2016 State Policy Update. It’s a “mini-update” that “provides a snapshot of early childhood care and education budget and policy changes in states during the 2016 legislative sessions as of July 2016.”

This year, “numerous states across the country made major policy changes and investments that advanced access to high-quality early learning programs,” The Ounce says, pointing to:

• Rhode Island, where “codified key elements of the state’s home visiting system” became law “through the passage of The Rhode Island Family Home Visiting Act. The state’s Department of Health is required to work with other state agencies to identify vulnerable families and offer them the opportunity to enroll in evidence-based home visiting programs.”

• In Nebraska, tax credits abound. “The School Readiness Tax Credit Act will create two new state tax credits… for early childhood programs and individual early childhood professionals in 2017.” (more…)

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Photo: Wrentham Public Schools

Photo: Wrentham Public Schools

A message from Chris Martes, president and CEO of Strategies for Children (SFC).

“As September starts, children and families across Massachusetts are heading back to school. Even programs that run for a full calendar year are enrolling new children and families and supporting these children as they make this transition. Some children are starting kindergarten and entering an elementary school for the first time. Some children are also entering a classroom for the first time because they’ve had no prior preschool experience. Indeed, national, state, and local data confirm that there is great variation in young children’s experiences during their first five years, and this is, unfortunately, where achievement gaps take root.

“There has been great interest in expanding high-quality early education opportunities for children in the commonwealth. Legislators filed several bills to do this work, however comprehensive pre-K expansion did not become state law this past legislative session. The state’s revenue picture remains challenging, and without additional revenue expanding access to high-quality early education and care will be difficult. (more…)

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

The blog is on vacation. We’ll be back on Wednesday, September 7, 2016.

Enjoy the final days of summer.

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Board 1

Amy O’Leary with Danielle Scanlon, Erin Vickstrom, Susan Norquist, Kristen Kelley, and Kristy Walley


Earlier this week, students from Quinsigamond Community College’s (QCC) Leadership in Early Education and Care program testified before the Board of the Department of Early Education and Care.

Accompanied by Amy O’Leary, director of our Early Education for All Campaign, the students share their experiences in the leadership program.

As we blogged a few weeks ago, QCC’s program “trains ‘students who are already working in early childhood centers’ as directors, supervisors as well as students who aspire to be leaders.”

“The courses are paid for by the Educator and Provider Support Grant, which is funded by the Department of Early Education and Care.” And students who already have bachelor’s degrees can apply the 15 credits that they earn in this program toward a master’s degree in early childhood leadership at Worcester State University. (more…)

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GALA Winners

Tiffany Sheets, Sonia Gomez-Banrey, Marie St. Fleur, Flossy Calderon, Jennie Fitzkee, Abby Morales, Mary Lu Love, Melissa Russell, and Amy O’Leary


There was a happy crowd at last month’s annual Early Educators Gala — an evening of dinner, dancing, and awards that was emceed by our own Amy O’Leary, director of Strategies for Children’s Early Education for All Campaign.

“Early education and care is getting a lot of attention at the state and national level. We’re seeing new programs and more funding,” O’Leary said. “But at the heart of all we do are early educators who build nurturing relationships with young children. These relationships prepare children to be happy successful learners. It was an honor to help celebrate this work at the gala.”

“Early education professionals are the delivery system for the healthy development of young learners,” said Department of Early Education and Care Commissioner Tom Weber, who attended the celebration. “The gala was an inspiring celebration of passion and practice, showcasing the tremendous contributions that early educators are making every day to children, families and the Commonwealth.” (more…)

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