USING DATA-DRIVEN STRATEGIES, ENHANCING QUALIFICATIONS OF TEACHERS, FAMILY ENGAGEMENT AND PROMOTING DUAL LANGUAGE AMONG TOP PRACTICES
The 2019 school year has been one for the record books, as the United Way Center for Excellence in Early Education’s Head Start and Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership programs earned high marks from two prestigious national organizations, Bellwether Education Partners and The Bipartisan Policy Center.
Bellwether Education Partners, a national nonprofit organization focused on reforming education to better meet the needs of underserved children, released Leading by Exemplar: Lessons from Head Start Programs.To be considered for the report, United Way Center for Excellence in Early Education, Demonstration School, Educare of Miami-Dade had to show evidence of “positive impacts on children’s learning that were either substantially larger than those of typical Head Start or other early-childhood programs or sustained beyond kindergarten entry.”
The report names the Center’s Demonstration School, as one of the top five Head Start programs in the country. Using Acelero Learning key strategies, the report describes excellence, through five factors: curriculum (including assessments and instruction), meeting the needs of all children, ensuring high-quality teaching, family engagement and data utilization.
The report recognizes: “By combining curriculum, instruction and family engagement practices from a variety of sources; using data to customize them to its unique population and context; and providing intensive, highly reflective support to teachers and staff, UWCFE (the Center’s Demonstration School) has developed a unique approach to high-quality early learning that draws on a rich mosaic of practices and offerings to meet the needs of diverse children and families and model educational excellence in one of the nation’s most diverse cities.”
Earlier this year, the Bipartisan Policy Center released Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships (EHS-CCP): Spotlighting Early Successes Across America, to showcase the impact of EHS-CCP on the communities it serves. Created by Congress in 2014, the EHS-CCP attempts to address issues that disproportionately affect low-to-moderate income communities by expanding access to high-quality infant and toddler care for working, low-income families.
According to the Bipartisan Policy Center report, one of the biggest barriers to quality early education is the high cost associated with it. In fact, in 33 states, the cost of infant care is higher than the cost of in-state tuition at a public university. Studies show that the true cost of providing high-quality infant and toddler care can range between $12,000 and $21,000 yearly, yet the national average for subsidies is much lower, about $5,600, as stated in the report. As a result, child care centers and family child care homes that accept subsidized infants and toddlers do not have the means to offer high-quality services.
Locally, the United Way Center for Excellence in Early Education is an EHS-CCP grantee and directly serves 520 children (ages six weeks to three years old) and their families, and indirectly impacts an additional 625 children. The Center partners with 16 child care centers and five family child care homes that agree to meet Head Start Program Performance Standards, and in exchange, the 21 programs receive additional funds and a myriad of resources, coaching and technical assistance to improve the quality of their services.
The Center’s EHS-CCP program excelled in five unique models, tailored to local communities and needs:
- Enhancing the qualifications and professional development of existing workforce helping providers attain their Child Development Associate CDA Credential, and connecting them with TEACH, a national organization that provides financial assistance to early educators seeking a bachelor’s degree.
- Supporting women and children experiencing homelessness through a partnership with Lotus Village, by offering high-quality education and parenting trainings to 48 families who live in the shelter.
- Providing family child care homes, who generally don’t have access to robust resources and technical assistance, with a wide array of trainings to help them make necessary health, safety and education updates, including playgrounds, age-appropriate books and toys, and more…
- Working with Miami-Dade County Public Schools to promote continuity of care and improve transition from early education to k-12 schooling for the child and the family.
- Encouraging dual-language learners in one of the most diverse cities in the world through teacher trainings and family engagement. The impact of dual-language is multifaceted, strengthening cognitive, social and economic growth.
If you’d like a firsthand experience of the teaching and learning that takes place at the United Way Center for Excellence in Early Education, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.