Wheelock Receives $725,000 in New Grants

November 20, 2012

The Wheelock College Aspire Institute continues its mission to advance knowledge and solutions in response to social and educational challenges by announcing the launch of four collaborative programs enabled by $725,000 in funding.

"Wheelock is honored to receive this funding from the DEEC, Barr Foundation and the Lynch Foundation for these leading-edge programs and partnerships," said Wheelock College President Jackie Jenkins-Scott. "These efforts demonstrate our belief that collaboration is critical and necessary in meeting our mission to improve the lives of children and families."

The Massachusetts Department of Early Education & Care (DEEC) provided $445,000 in funding for two projects: 1) to develop state pre-school science, technology and engineering standards and 2) to improve the professional knowledge and skills of adult English Language Learners. In partnership with DEEC, Wheelock will research and recommend pre-school science, technology and engineering standards that align with national and state elementary-level science, technology and engineering standards and state pre-school math standards. The program will also provide guidance on developmentally appropriate, quality science learning experiences for young children in pre-school settings. The second DEEC project, titled "Pathways," will advance the professional knowledge and skills of adult English Language Learners (ELLs) in the early childhood field by creating a pilot career ladder for practitioners. Up to 90 practitioners will be supported by this project.

"DEEC values the critical role that higher education plays in building a high-quality system of early education and care across the Commonwealth for children, families, educators and communities. Wheelock College not only has been at the forefront of this work, but they have been instrumental in bringing partners to the table to support statewide change that leads to positive outcomes for our youngest citizens," said Department of Early Education and Care Commissioner Sherri Killins.

The Lynch Foundation and the Barr Foundation together provided a $280,000 grant to the Aspire Institute to support the Boston Family Engagement Partnership, an initiative designed to significantly advance family-school collaboration to promote children's learning and development. Through the one-year grant, which supports the design and pilot implementation of this Partnership over the 2012-2013 school year, the Aspire Institute will work with a diverse group of eleven Boston public, charter and parochial schools and the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Specifically, the Aspire Institute and schools will focus on three core strategies: collecting a range of data from schools and families; launching a year-long, graduate-level fellowship to train a ‘next generation' of family engagement professionals and leaders in schools; and using emerging online and smart phone technology to develop learning modules for families.

An additional $137,121 grant from the Lynch Foundation will fund the Wheelock Catholic Schools Initiative, which will enroll seven Boston-area Catholic school PreK-2 teachers and leaders per year in a Master's in Education program at Wheelock. In exchange for free tuition and Wheelock's nationally recognized early childhood education training, program participants agree to serve at their current schools for three years, upon completion of the program. As part of the program, participants also have the opportunity to take concentrated coursework in English Language Learners Instruction, Children with Special Needs Instruction, and Organizational Leadership. Participants may also be able to complete their required field experience in their current classrooms while completing the program.

"We are proud to have contributed to Wheelock's Boston Family Engagement Partnership and the partnership between Wheelock and Catholic Schools to train ECE teachers" said Katie Everett, Executive Director of the Lynch Foundation. "With Aspire's track record of innovation in education, we believe that these critical programs will significantly advance family-school engagement to promote children's learning and development."

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