Early Ed Leadership & Innovation

We train frontline early educators and child care business owners in entrepreneurial leadership, and research ways to support them at scale

March 11, 2021

StrongStart Professional Development Centers Are There To Help

Graphic of Keira Durrett with quote It’s safe to say that Keira Durrett has earned the title of “expert.” She’s worked in early care and education for over 30 years, 21 of them as director of the Williston North Hampton Children’s Center in Easthampton. Even so, she credits the Western Mass StrongStart Professional Development Center (PDC) with providing her with much needed resources this past year.

Shortly before early care and education programs in Massachusetts were suspended from operating in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, Durrett had joined a professional learning community (PLC) run by the Western Mass StrongStart PDC. Comprised of other directors of ECE programs in her region, the PLC was set up to provide structured support for directors working through typical problems of practice: improving curricula, supporting staff, strengthening relationships with families, and streamlining back-end operations.

But as programs prepared to reopen, directors had numerous questions about maintaining health and safety, understanding the reopening guidance issued by the state, and managing finances with dramatically reduced enrollment. (For example, at the start of the year, there were 53 children enrolled in Durrett’s center. Now there are just 35.) Continue Reading →

March 16, 2020

ECE sector advocates for inclusion in coronavirus economic stimulus package

As the country continues to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, 35 national child welfare and early care and education organizations last week called on the federal government to ensure that “significant and flexible emergency funding” for ECE is part of any emergency stimulus package. They made their call in a March 11 letter to Congresss. In a follow up communication to the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), they urged Congress to issue “immediate and clear guidance from to state Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) administrators and lead agencies regarding policy choices that can help child care providers and the families they serve remain operable, financially stable and, to the degree possible, open during and after the ongoing COVID19/coronavirus crisis.” Continue Reading →

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