Strategies for Children serves as a thought partner to local communities across the state working to improve their early learning systems. Local leaders are increasingly interested in supporting young children and families during their earliest years, and are creating plans for preschool expansion, kindergarten readiness, early literacy, and more. But most communities need outside help to bring their plans to life. Through local partnerships, our goal is to see improved outcomes and effective coordination. We help align local efforts with state policy and established research.
In order to ensure public resources are invested wisely for sustainable impact, communities must be “ready” to successfully implement new programs and initiatives. Community readiness means:
SFC helps communities create these conditions in the early education space. Readiness increases a community’s likelihood of securing federal, state, and local investments for early learning, and sustaining those investments for a measurable impact on children.
Our bottom line goal is an increased number of Massachusetts children (birth-5) who are enrolled in high-quality early learning programs and who enter kindergarten ready to learn.
Further, many communities across the commonwealth lack the knowledge, resources, and infrastructure needed to grow and sustain the impact of their local early education programs and initiatives. Unlike K-12 schooling, the early education space is less defined and coordinated at the local level. We seek to organize and empower the B-5 sector in each of our local partner communities while continuing to advocate for major policy breakthroughs at the state and federal levels.
Our partnerships with communities began through the lens of reading proficiency. In 2012, informed by the research of nationally renowned literacy expert Nonie Lesaux, and led by director of reading proficiency Kelly Kulsrud, SFC established the Massachusetts Third Grade Reading Proficiency Learning Network. Working with teams from Boston, Holyoke, Pittsfield, Springfield, Worcester and New Bedford, SFC aligns research, policy and practice to ensure that children have access to high-quality early education and become proficient readers by the end of third grade. We identify emerging best practices, and share them across communities. These six cities are members of the national Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, for which SFC serves as the Massachusetts state lead.
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