Birth–3rd Policy Developments in Massachusetts

The Massachusetts team that participated in the National Governors Association early learning policy academy reports several new developments:

  • The Boards of the Department of Early Education and Care and Department of Elementary and Secondary Education have created a joint birth through grade 3 sub-committee that will include representatives from both boards.
  • The team has released an updated version of Building the Foundation of Future Success for Children from Birth through Grade 3 and hopes to get it approved by both Boards this spring. 
  • The team is exploring the possibility of holding a series of birth through grade 3 regional meetings this spring.
  • Resources and information will be posted at the state’s birth through grade 3 website, including a presentation that Ralph Smith and Amy O’Leary shared at the joint EEC/ESE Board meeting.

For additional information, here is the team’s latest email notification:

Dear Colleagues:

Greetings – we hope that all is well.  We are writing to share the updated version of the Building the Foundation document and also to provide an update about the development and implementation of birth through grade 3 strategies.

Updated Document – Building the Foundation of Future Success for Children from Birth through Grade 3

Thank you very much for the valuable feedback that you provided by e-mail and also by responding to the online survey!  We greatly appreciated your thoughtful comments and suggested revisions.

We have reviewed all of the feedback that we received, and are pleased to share the attached document.  This updated version includes a new title and revisions to the essential competencies and foundational experiences.  This document will be posted on the birth through grade 3 website (http://www.mass.gov/edu/government/special-initiatives/birth-grade-three/), and we hope to present it to the Board of Early Education and Care (BEEC) and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) for approval during the spring of 2015.

Joint Meeting of the Board of Early Education and Care and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

The BEEC and the BESE conducted another joint meeting on December 15, 2014 (the first joint meeting was conducted in January 2014).  The primary purpose of the meeting was twofold: first, to discuss the ongoing implementation of initiatives that are being managed and supported by both the Department of Early Education and Care and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education; and second, to identify additional opportunities to increase alignment and collaboration between the early education and K-12 sectors.

The agenda included remarks from the former governor Deval Patrick, who spoke poignantly about the importance of educators and their impact on children; and a presentation by Ralph Smith, the Managing Director of the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading and the Senior Vice President of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and Amy O’Leary, the Director of the Early Education for All Campaign at Strategies for Children.  They emphasized the importance of building community-wide support for early education and increasing both access and quality, and also provided data about third grade reading proficiency rates in Massachusetts.

The two Boards voted to create a birth through grade 3 subcommittee that will include representatives from both BEEC and BESE.  The members of this subcommittee will be finalized in the near future, and at the first meeting several members of our team will have the opportunity to present detailed information about the outcomes of Massachusetts’ participation in the National Governors Association early learning policy academy, our efforts to enhance our preschool and kindergarten standards, and the implementation of the Kindergarten Entry Assessment system.

Regional Birth through Grade 3 Meetings

We are exploring the possibility of convening six regional meetings (in Berkshire County; the Pioneer Valley; central Massachusetts; greater Boston; northeast Massachusetts; and southeastern Massachusetts and Cape Cod) during the spring of 2015.  The primary purpose of these meetings would be twofold: first, to give regional representatives the opportunity to share information and best practices about current and potential birth through grade 3 initiatives; and second, to enhance partnerships among educators, parents and family members, community partners, and others.

We would greatly appreciate your thoughts about these proposed meetings; if you have any suggestions about the topics that could be discussed, individuals who could serve as presenters, or other ideas, please contact Saeyun Lee at the Department of Higher Education.

Resources and Data

We will post the following resources on the birth through grade 3 website: first, a fact sheet that presents the primary outcomes of participating in the National Governors Association early learning policy academy; and second, a PowerPoint presentation that Amy O’Leary and Ralph Smith discussed at the joint BEEC and BESE meeting in December.

Thank you so much for your continued interest and support, and we will continue to provide information about birth through grade 3 initiatives by e-mail and on our website.

Sincerely yours,

Mary Jane Crotty, Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
Betsy Edes, Department of Early Education and Care
Winifred Hagan, Department of Higher Education
Laura Healy, Strategies for Children
Stacey Kaminski, CONNECT Public Higher Education Partnership
Saeyun Lee, Department of Higher Education
Kay Lisseck, Readiness Centers Network
Chau Ly, Department of Early Education and Care
Douglas McNally, Readiness Centers Network
Carol Nolan, Department of Early Education and Care
Amy O’Leary, Strategies for Children
Donna Traynham, Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

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