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New Publication! Early Childhood Solutions in Promise Neighborhoods

Curious about real, on-the-ground solutions to improve early childhood education? Want to know what the first five implementation sites have been up to?

This new Promise Neighborhoods Institute at PolicyLink paper, written by the Center for the Study of Social Policy, gets into just that–and is a perfect way to dive into this crucial part of the pipeline of services all children and families need to learn, grow, and succeed. Early Childhood Solutions Launched in Promise Neighborhoods Implementation Sites in Year 1 is part of a series called “Building the Pipeline: Effective Practice Briefs” intended to explore theories and real solutions to address the interconnected challenges facing low-income students and families in communities.

Read it, share it, and let us know what you think!

Buffalo Promise in the News!

We love to see it!

Chopafellaz Unisex Salon, Buffalo, NY, courtesy

The Buffalo Promise Neighborhood is building a new early childhood development center to be the focal point of the Promise Neighborhood, and the best part? “With or without the federal implementation grant, the center will be built”!!

This dedication to improving outcomes for children is so inspiring. Way to go, Buffalo!

Read the full article for interviews and more information on how the Buffalo Promise Neighborhood is preparing for implementation.

Early Learning Priority Explained

Early childhood is an important priority this time around, so we want to make sure you’ve got the information you need!

We created a brief powerpoint with LOTS of notes (make sure you read through the notes!) on each slide that provides further guidance about priority 4! Read through and let us know in the comments if you’ve got any questions! (Click the icon below and scroll down the page.)

Gov. Dayton Forms Early Learning Council in MN!

We’re loving the focus on early learning and early childhood development lately. We had an excellent series of calls on early childhood work–early learning is a competitive priority in this year’s Promise Neighborhoods applications–Senator Harkin and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan just highlighted the importance of early childhood education in Des Moines, and other great early childhood efforts are popping up all over.

Let’s head to…Minnesota!

Already a strong, civically-engaged state with two burgeoning Promise Neighborhoods (the St. Paul Promise Neighborhood, which received a planning grant last year, and the Northside Achievement Zone in Minneapolis, which did not), Minnesota is directing even more energy to important Promise Neighborhood elements.

Governor Mark Dayton has formed an Early Learning Council (which includes some folks who work on Promise Neighborhoods efforts!) to help the state reach its goal of all third graders knowing how to read.

We love to see it!

Gov. Mark Dayton


Early Childhood Call Highlights Engaging and Working with Parents

We had a great call this afternoon on Engaging and Working with Parents with the speakers below who represent some really terrific organizations! Click the link at the bottom to listen to the call in its entirety.

Moderator: Erika Bernabei, Research Associate, Promise Neighborhoods Institute at PolicyLink

Kerry Caverly
Director, Replication, Training, and Technical Assistance
Parents as Teachers

Peggy Hill
Chief Strategic Relations Officer
Nurse-Family Partnership

Dr. Cheri Shapiro
Research Associate Professor
Parenting and Family Research Center, University of South Carolina
Triple P Positive Parenting Program

Listen to the call:
PNI Early Childhood Meeting 10-Aug-11 1217 (1)

Sec. Duncan and Sen. Harkin Highlight Early Education!

If you missed our early childhood call today, don’t worry! There are still two more in our series, so remember to call in!

You know this is a hot topic because it’s key to the Promise Neighborhoods applications (due September 6!)–and two champions of Promise Neighborhoods spent some time in Des Moines to highlight early education efforts. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Senator Tom Harkin visited a community school, and joined education and community leaders for a roundtable discussion on the importance of quality early education programs.

“I don’t even use the word ‘preschool’ any longer, because I think education starts at birth,” said Sen. Harkin. Read the full article.

PNI Announces Early Childhood Conference Call Series!

The Promise Neighborhoods Institute at PolicyLink is hosting a three part call series to explore early childhood issues related to Promise Neighborhoods planning and implementation.

Mark your calendars! You won’t want to miss these!

Courtesy of the Guidance Center, lead organization for the River Rouge Promise Neighborhood (MI)

Setting the Context
Monday, August 1st, 3-4pm ET

Participants will learn about how new early childhood policy at the federal and state level places an emphasis on systems-building, and learn about how Harlem Children’s Zone and the Palm Beach Children’s Services Council are implementing place-based early childhood agendas.

Engaging Home-based and Family, Friend and Neighbor providers
Monday, August 8th, 3-4pm ET

This call will focus on a part of the child care spectrum which is both a core support to many families, and often outside of existing early childhood systems-building work. Speakers will discuss how to engage informal care providers and support them as part of a system of quality and developmentally-appropriate care.

Engaging and Working with Parents
Wednesday, August 10th, 3:30-4:30pm ET

This call will explore parent education and parent support as an essential component of building an early childhood program.  Speakers will include representatives from two national, evidence-based home visiting programs, as well as representatives of center-based approaches.

Dial In for all calls : (877) 746-4263
Access Code: 02 87 081#


PNI Director McAfee Interviewed in Ed Week!

It’s an early learning kind of week here at the Promise Neighborhoods Institute.

First, the Early Learning Challenge grants were announced. Today, Education Week published an interview Maureen Kelleher conducted with Michael McAfee, director of the Promise Neighborhoods Institute, about how early learning fits into the Promise Neighborhoods model, how the Institute is helping communities create Promise Neighborhoods,  and what’s going on with the sites as we look toward the next round of grants.

It’s a must-read!

Michael McAfee, Director, Promise Neighborhoods Institute


$500 million in Early Learning funds from Dept of Ed!

A new state-level grant competition for $500 million was just introduced! The Race to the Top–Early Learning Challenge “will reward states that create comprehensive plans to transform early learning systems with better coordination, clearer learning standards, and meaningful workforce development.

Senator Harkin, who has been a champion for Promise Neighborhoods, and even introduced the Promise Neighborhoods Act last week, put out a statement saying:

“Research has shown that low-income children who have received high-quality early childhood education and care are more likely to graduate high school and attend college, less likely to commit a crime, and less likely to need special education in school.  However, access and quality varies greatly between states.  This new Race to the Top program will help change that by providing competitive grants to states to improve the quality and coordination of early childhood programs.”

Read the Department of Education press release here, and go here to provide feedback on the proposed grant competition. The grant guidelines will be announced in the coming weeks.

This is a great opportunity for Promise Neighborhoods, since incorporating strong early childhood support is key to building a successful Promise Neighborhood.