Archive for December, 2009

Report Identifies New Jersey as Model for ‘PreK-3rd’ Education Reform

Monday, December 14th, 2009
For Immediate Release
December 11, 2009
Report Identifies New Jersey as Model for ‘PreK-3rd’ Education Reform – If the State Can Sustain its Support

A new report from the New America Foundation finds that New Jersey has made tremendous strides in improving children’s access to quality early learning experiences, enabling some districts to nearly erase the achievement gap. But the report also exposes the fragility of these gains and urges state leaders to act now to sustain and build on early learning reforms to date-or risk undoing New Jersey’s progress so far.

The report, Education Reform Starts Early: Lessons from New Jersey’s PreK-3rd Reform by Sara Mead, a senior research fellow at New America, does not focus solely on the state’s pre-K programs. It provides a blueprint for how to create a high-quality, well-aligned education system that helps children sustain their learning gains up through the third grade and beyond.

As a result of a 1998 state Supreme Court ruling, New Jersey has implemented one of the nation’s highest quality state pre-k programs. Research shows that children participating in these programs make significant gains in language, emerging literacy, and other skills. Equally important, as Mead’s report explains, New Jersey has taken steps to link that pre-K program to the early elementary grades, enabling children to acquire a solid foundation of reading, math, and social skills by the end of third grade.

The report describes how New Jersey became a national leader in early education and PreK-3rd reform and identifies challenges that could threaten the state’s continued success.

Specifically, it recommends that state and national policymakers:
·   Integrate pre-K and other early childhood investments into a broader education reform agenda to improve student learning outcomes from preschool through college.
·   Invest in building state-level infrastructure for pre-K, not just expanding slots.
·   Create systems of data collection, analysis, and accountability to drive ongoing quality improvement in early childhood and PreK-3rd programs.

It also recommends that New Jersey policymakers take the following steps to consolidate early education gains and build a truly aligned system of high-quality PreK-3rd education:
·   Maintain commitment to pre-k expansion in non-Abbott districts.
·   Extend the Abbott preschool program’s approach to improving quality up into kindergarten and the early grades.
·   Reaffirm and sustain the state’s commitment to early literacy.
·   Strengthen New Jersey’s teacher credential for the early years (known as the P-3 credential) by improving standards and quality in teacher preparation programs.

The report is a project of New America’s Early Education Initiative, which is supported through generous grants from the Foundation for Child Development, the W. Clement and Jessie K. Stone Foundation, and the Strategic Knowledge Fund, co-funded by the Foundation for Child Development and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
For the full report: CLICK HERE
For interview requests, please contact Kate Brown with requests at 202-596-3365 or brown@newamerica.net.

About the New America Foundation
The New America Foundation is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy institute that invests in new thinkers and new ideas to address the next generation of challenges facing the United States.

Lopatcong Township School District researches before- and after-school child care in other districts

Friday, December 11th, 2009

Lopatcong Township School District researches before- and after-school child care in other districts

Friday, December 11, 2009

By SARAH M. WOJCIK

The Express-Times

LOPATCONG TWP. | If the township school district chooses to go ahead with before- and after-school child care, it would be run by Lopatcong and not an outside contractor, according to school board member Edward Krusman.

“We’re looking into doing it ourselves,” said Krusman, chairman of the board of education’s ad hoc committee researching whether the program would be a good fit for the district.

About two years ago, the district voted to forgo a before- and after-school child care program after heated debate on the subject. Parents have come forward in recent months to request the board re-examine the proposal.

Krusman said the committee is visiting successful programs throughout the county and investigating insurance costs associated with establishing a program.

Washington Township School District Superintendent Roger Jinks has been invited to speak with the committee about that district’s child care, in operation since 2007.

Care contributes to safety

Advantages for school-run child care extend beyond the benefit of a safe place to stay after-hours, according to the after-school advocates New Jersey School-Age Care Coalition, part of the Network for New Jersey’s Afterschool Communities.

Campaign Director Amy Plotch pointed to a 2007 study by the University of California-Irvine and Washington, D.C.-based Policy Study Associates Inc. showing how high-quality school child care can bump standardized test scores by 12 to 20 points.

Studies also show that spending more time at the school strengthens children’s bonds with the institution, she said.

“We’ve seen that attendance goes up, truancy goes down and behavior problems go down,” Plotch said. “It’s a wonderful support for the classroom teacher.”

Filling a gap in service

Jinks, who helped open child care programs in Clinton and Franklin Township before moving to Washington Township, said his district’s program tends to supplement the classroom.

About 35 to 40 children participate in both the before- and after-school programs in Washington Township. Care before school begins at 7 a.m. and afternoon care concludes at 6 p.m.

“The beauty of this is that parents know that all children are in school at 4 p.m. and all are safe,” Jinks said.

Paid for entirely by participants, Washington Township School District’s program does not use taxpayer money, according to the superintendent. Children who receive free and reduced lunch can have costs subsidized, he said.

Warren County Superintendent Kevin Brennan had no precise figures on the number of districts with before- and after-school child care in Warren County but said programs are growing more common and take on many forms.

More and more often schools are stepping up to fill gaps in the community, Brennan said.

“It’s the local school, and in many of these towns, the school is one of the biggest resources in town,” he said.

Private market concerns

Krusman addressed fears that district-operated child care would siphon business from private day care. He said the committee has identified three private providers in the township.

“It’s not our intention to put anybody out of business,” Krusman said. “Our intention is to provide this community, if possible, with a program that is not just educational but (operates as) a day care center.”

In his experience with opening child care programs, Jinks said, he has not heard of a district-run program causing serious hardships for private centers.

“I don’t necessarily feel that I’m in competition with anybody,” Jinks said.

Plotch said her organization has not found that school-based programs are a detriment to private ones.

“It would seem to me that if you have people in a community asking for this, there aren’t enough (private day care centers that) are meeting needs,” she said.

Reporter Sarah M. Wojcik can be reached at 610-258-7171, ext. 3631, or by e-mail at swojcik@express-times.com.

H1N1 INFO

Friday, December 11th, 2009

Please read- this is a very comprehensive resource fro H1N1-it is not over yet.

Diane Genco

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Dear Partners,

Through this special communication, the Partnership Center would like to share some new tools for flu prevention and response as we enter the holiday season. The H1N1 virus is still particularly affecting pregnant women, children, young adults, and people ages 25 though 64 with medical conditions, such as asthma, heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes. Gatherings, such as those around the holidays, can be an opportunity to keep communities informed about preventing and treating flu, as well as vaccine safety – rather than opportunities for germs to spread.

It’s particularly important that people who are ‘harder to reach’ (due to geographic, language, socioeconomic or other reasons) receive accurate and accessible information about the flu and vaccine. Your organizations are often well positioned to help reach these communities. Below you will find links to several new 1 page fliers created by CDC that focus on vaccine safety and healthy habits. Please note outreach is voluntary.

The following action steps can help keep everyone healthy. Please consider what steps might work for your community:

  • Forward this e-mail to communicate with your staff, partners, program participants, and others in your community.
  • Post the appropriate flyers linked below on your websites, community newsletters, bulletin boards, and social media links.
  • Print and hand out the fliers and post in public areas to reach those who do not have access to a computer.
  • Use regional, state, and local community partners to pass on the information.
  • Help people find vaccine available in their area by going to Flu.gov.

We have included links to four 1-page fliers with information about the 2009 H1N1 flu, vaccinations, and ways to maintain your health. Multiple versions of each to address language, race, and ethnicity differences are linked as well. Please choose the ones that work best for your audience.

(a). You and the H1N1 flu vaccine. 2009 H1N1 flu vaccine is given in two ways.

a. English version http://www.cdc.gov/flu/freeresources/2009-10/pdf/h1n1_safety_flyer.pdf

b. Spanish Version http://www.cdc.gov/flu/freeresources/2009-10/pdf/h1n1_safety_flyer_sp.pdf

(b). Children should get the vaccine.

a. English version http://www.cdc.gov/flu/freeresources/2009-10/pdf/09_h1n1_children.pdf

b. Spanish version http://www.cdc.gov/flu/freeresources/2009-10/pdf/09_h1n1_children_sp.pdf

(c) Protect yourself from H1N1. Get the vaccine. Individual flyers have been designed for multiple audiences, though text is the same. Graphics have been adapted to address different communities.

a. English – Purple Background http://www.cdc.gov/flu/freeresources/2009-10/pdf/09_h1n1_vaccine_safety_ver3.pdf

b. English – Green Background http://www.cdc.gov/flu/freeresources/2009-10/pdf/09_h1n1_vaccine_safety_ver2.pdf

c. English – Orange Background http://www.cdc.gov/flu/freeresources/2009-10/pdf/09_h1n1_vaccine_safety_ver1.pdf

d. English – Blue Background http://www.cdc.gov/flu/freeresources/2009-10/pdf/09_h1n1_vaccine_safety_ver4.pdf

e. Spanish for non English-speaking Audiences http://www.cdc.gov/flu/freeresources/2009-10/pdf/09_h1n1_vaccine_safety_sp.pdf

(d). Cover Your Cough. Stop the Spread of Germs that Make You and Others Sick!

a. English version http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/pdf/cdc_cough.pdf

b. Spanish version http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/espanol/pdf/covercough_school_8x11_sp.pdf

Heard a rumor about H1N1?  Visit Myths & Facts to run a fact check and learn the truth. An additional resource is the CDC hotline, 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636), which offers services in English and Spanish, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

We encourage you to visit Flu.gov for more free resources and one-page handouts available in English, Spanish,  Chinese, Arabic, French, German, Italian, Korean, Russian, Tagalog, and Vietnamese.

Please consider sharing this message with your family, friends, co-workers and networks today.  Let’s work together to help keep our communities safe and healthy.  Again, please know that participation in this outreach effort is voluntary.

Sincerely,

Alexia Kelley, Director

Center for Faith-based & Neighborhood Partnerships

US Department of Health & Human Services

Improving Student Achievement Through Expanded Learning Opportunities

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

One of NJ’s  own will be on this webcast, Dr. Elnardo Webster.
Afterschool Programs ARE expanded learning opportunities.

Webcast

Monday, December 7, 2009

2:00-3:00 p.m. Eastern Time

Interactive Webcast

Join practitioners and policymakers for an interactive and informative discussion of the existing and emerging research about expanded learning opportunities. A nationally recognized panel of experts will discuss the most recent research and highlight how the recommendations in the new Institute of Education Sciences (IES) Practice Guide, Structuring Out-of-School Time to Improve Academic Achievement, can help practitioners improve the quality and outcomes of afterschool programs in schools and districts throughout the country.

Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Midwest at Learning Point Associates is pleased to invite you to engage in a collaborative conversation with the following distinguished presenters:

  • Robert Granger, Ed.D., President of the William T. Grant Foundation, will share his expertise about afterschool programs and highlight findings from rigorous studies funded by the Foundation.
  • Steven Ross, Ph.D., Senior Research Scientist and Professor at the Center for Research and Reform in Education at Johns Hopkins University, will outline the recommendations in the Practice Guide, which he coauthored.
  • Elnardo Webster, Ed.D., Superintendent of the Roselle Borough (New Jersey) Public Schools and former director of afterschool programs in Newark, New Jersey, will help the practitioners in the audience understand the most appropriate ways to apply research from the Practice Guide to use out-of-school time to support student achievement.

The webcast will highlight the work of the following experts:

  • Charles Smith, Ph.D., Director of the David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality, who led the development and validation of the Youth Program Quality Assessment tool widely used to evaluate afterschool programs throughout the country.
  • Fred Doolittle, Ph.D., Vice President and Director of the Policy Research and Evaluation Department at MDRC, who served as the principal investigator on the federally funded Impact Evaluation of Academic Instruction for After-School Programs.

The webcast will feature video from the following programs and practitioners:

  • Children’s Aid Society staff and educators at P.S. 8 Luis Belliard School in New York City
  • Educators and afterschool staff at the Dr. Charles S. Polk Elementary School in Roselle, NJ
  • Afterschool staff at Adams Middle School in Westland, MI

Please visit http://newmediamill.com/webcasts/rel/register/index.php?sno=1 to register for the event.

Read the IES Practice Guide, Structuring Out-of-School Time to Improve Academic Achievement at http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/pdf/practiceguides/ost_pg_072109.pdf.

For questions or additional information, please contact Peggie Garcia by telephone (312-288-7642) or e-mail (peggie.garcia@learningpt.org).

Job Posting/Meadowlands YMCA

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

FAMILY WELLNESS DIRECTOR

Cultivating and implementing new innovative programs that help children and families increase their daily physical activity and learn healthy eating habits and nutrition, as well as develop a positive cash flow for the agency.
The Meadowlands Area YMCA, located in Bergen County, New Jersey, is a rapidly growing and progressive association that is looking for individuals that can contribute to our team.
We are looking for a motivated individual that loves working with all age groups, has a proven track record in the delivery of Wellness Programs and believes in Healthy Living, as well as, the education of children and families in the areas of Nutrition and Physical Activity.

To learn more :

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE