50 years of Kaplan Early Learning

Monday, July 30, 2018

(Winston-Salem Monthly) - Hal Kaplan talks a lot about concepts. 

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This Child Care Chain Will Now Pay for Its Employees to Get College Degrees

Monday, July 30, 2018

(Slate) - Ask any parent or guardian about child care in the United States, and he or she will agree: It’s a bank-breaking, anxiety-inducing mess. For many families, child care costs more annually than in-state college tuition, while the U.S. has some of the lowest public spending on early childhood education—a broad term that encompasses care for any child before kindergarten—in the developed world. Fewer and fewer college graduates are pursuing degrees in early childhood education, citing concerns about low salaries and a lack of professional development. Meanwhile, parents and experts are demanding their child care providers be more and more experienced and educated. All these factors have led to a workforce shortage in early childhood education, which is in part causing the spread of child care deserts across the United States.  

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Fighting the Child Care Shortage in Montrose

Friday, July 27, 2018

(WesternSlopeNow.Com) - MONTROSE, Colo. - For years now, Montrose families have faced a shortage of child care. 

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Introducing the Dual Language Learners Program Assessment (DLLPA)

Friday, July 27, 2018


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Director’s Professional Development Needs Differ by Developmental Stage

Thursday, July 26, 2018

(McCormick Center) -


This document may be printed, photocopied, and disseminated freely with attribution. All content is the property of the McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership.

This resource is part of our Research Notes series.

Research suggests that many early childhood program administrators enter into leadership roles by being promoted from teaching positions and few have prior education, training, or experience specific to leadership or management (Catron & Groves, 1999; Billman, 1995; Bloom & Rafanello, 1994). Many directors of early care and education programs must navigate their own ongoing professional development and learn how to improve their leadership practice without assistance. Little attention has been given to differentiating professional learning opportunities by directors’ needs as they grow throughout their careers.

In 1997, Paula Jorde Bloom examined the perceived roles and work history of 257 early care and education program directors. She identified three developmental career stages: beginning directors, competent directors, and master directors based on self-identification. The Directors’ Role Perceptions Survey, developed for the 1997 study (Bloom, 1997, 2004), documented key differences in leadership and management practices at various developmental stages of the directors’ careers. The McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership recently conducted a follow-up study to examine current directors’ perceptions about their roles and to identify how their professional development needs differ by their stage of leadership development.


In November of 2017, a national online survey was conducted using the McCormick Center’s contact database. The sample consisted of 1,530 childhood program administrators and included respondents from 49 states and the District of Columbia. Table 1 shows the roles of survey respondents.

Ninety-six percent of the participants were female with an average age of 48, ranging from 18 to 73 years. On average, respondents had worked in the field of early childhood for 22.5 years, with tenures ranging from one to 48 years. Their tenure included an average of 13.3 years in any administrative position and 8.4 years in their current position. Of those that provided race/ethnicity information (n = 555), 79% identified as White/Caucasian, 12% identified as Black/African American, 3% identified as multiracial, and 1% identified as Native American. Eight percent of respondents identified themselves as Hispanic (n = 549).

Participants (n = 1,258) reported their highest level of education as a graduate degree (42%), baccalaureate degree (37%), associate degree (17%), and high school (7%). The majority (67%) of those with an associate degree or higher had a major in child development or early childhood education. In addition, 17% had earned the Child Development Associate (CDA) credential. Twenty-nine percent of respondents had a state issued early childhood credential and 22% had achieved a state or national director credential.

Respondents were asked to specify the types of paid positions they held prior to their current administrative role. Table 2 lists the number and percentage of participants by their work experience prior to becoming a director, with 42% of respondents indicating they had previous teaching experience and 25% reporting previous administrative experience as an assistant director or education coordinator.

The mean current enrollment at programs where respondents worked was 121. The early childhood programs where respondents worked were well distributed among geographic regions: suburban 44%, urban 38%, and rural 18% as well as across various program types and sectors as shown in Figure 1.


In consultation with Dr. Paula Jorde Bloom, author of the initial version of the Directors’ Role Perception Survey, researchers at the McCormick Center revised the survey to a 74-item instrument that included many items from the original survey while also adding questions related to leadership efficacy beliefs and categorizing questions according to the Whole Leadership Framework (Bella, Abel, & Talan, 2017). The survey was administered online through SurveyMonkey© and was sent to those on the McCormick Center’s email list. Data were analyzed from respondents that identified as a director (as defined in the survey), to examine various aspects about how early childhood administrators perceived their jobs. The Welch test was used to examine differences between groups of directors that perceived their career stage as novice, capable, or master. The Welch test was selected over the one-way ANOVA because the homogeneity of variance assumption was violated and because Welch provides a more robust test for equality of means.


Based on narrative descriptions of the three developmental career stages from the original 1997 study, the research team renamed beginning to novice directors and competent to capable directors. Results showed that 1,290 administrators self-identified their leadership competence level with the following results: novice – 69 (5%); capable – 859 (67%); and master – 362 (28%). Percentages among developmental stages differed somewhat from the original study: novice – 30%; capable – 60%; master – 10%. It is worth noting that approximately 20% of respondents had participated in a leadership academy prior to completing the survey and the percentage of directors with a baccalaureate degree or higher (79%) exceeds the national norm (62%). Both of these factors are likely to contribute to these results.

Respondents also reported on their reasons for becoming a director. The most frequently cited reason was that others saw the person’s leadership ability and encouraged them to pursue the director position (24%). Many individuals were encouraged to pursue leadership because they were good teachers in the past and were asked to take the director position (15%). Combining these two responses, 39% of the sample were externally motivated to become a director. Responses in the “other” category included reasons such as “opportunity to own a business,” “fell into my lap,” and “appointed when director left.” Table 3 lists the frequency and percentages of reasons individuals became directors.

Participants were asked to respond to pairs of dichotomous questions about their role perceptions when they first assumed an administrative position. The results of their choices are shown in Table 4.

Respondents ranked their current level of confidence in several areas related to their leadership capability. Each question was scored on a range from 1 = “I am not confident in my ability” to 4 = “I am very confident in my ability.” The average scores for all respondents as well as the average scores for each of the developmental stage groups were computed. Individuals who saw themselves in a higher stage of development were more likely to be confident in their perceived leadership competence. Results indicate that there was a statistically significant difference between perceived self-efficacy depending on the director’s development stage: F(2,1289) = 122.27, p = <.001. However, the corresponding effect size was small. Overall, self-efficacy had an effect size of η2 = .169; suggesting that about 17% of the variance in self-efficacy scores could be attributed to the developmental stage of directors. Table 5 shows the average scores in directors’ confidence about their leadership capability for all respondents as well as those of each of the developmental stage groups.

Participants were asked to select three words or phrases that best described their role as director. The top three choices based on frequency are listed in Table 6 within each developmental stage.

There is overlap among the selection of words or phrases among the developmental stages. Problem solver is represented in each stage. In addition, consecutive stages share two similar words or phrases.

Participants were asked to select three words or phrases that describe their current job. The top choices based on frequency are listed in Table 7 within each developmental stage.

There is overlap among the selection of words or phrases among the developmental stages. Challenging and demanding are represented in each stage. In addition, consecutive stages share similar words or phrases.


Findings from this study provide insight into directors’ backgrounds and their perceptions about their roles. Forty-two percent of the respondents had previous experience as a teacher. Some indicated they were recognized as good teachers and asked to become directors. Others were encouraged to pursue the directorship due to their demonstrated leadership ability. However, upon becoming a director, only half of the respondents were confident in their role and more than 60% felt unprepared for the position.

Two-thirds (67%) of respondents identified themselves as capable directors and 28% perceived themselves as master directors. However, the percentage of novice directors was substantially lower (5%). One explanation for this difference could be that the characteristics of the sample (mean of 23 years in early childhood education; mean of 13 years in an administrative position, 19% attended a leadership academy, 79% achieved a minimum of a baccalaureate degree) may have skewed the results. Additional research is needed to further explore the distribution of directors in developmental stages.

Differences were found in the confidence levels regarding leadership capability among novice, capable, and master directors. While the confidence levels increased along the developmental levels for all the items, they did not increase at the same magnitude. For example, budgeting and financial management was the lowest rated item for novice directors, but was not ranked as low for master directors. Promoting leadership at all levels within the organization was rated relatively low for capable directors and relatively high for master directors. While the use of technology to support administrative practices was the lowest ranked item for master directors, it was not a low-ranked item for novice directors.

Perceptions of the role of director and perceptions of their current job included some overlap among development stage. There is also evidence of a progression of perceptions. For example words often associated with more difficulty such as “crisis manager,” “emotionally draining” and “stressful” are used among those identified as novice and capable directors whereas words often associated with less difficulty and more satisfaction such as “leader,” “rewarding,” and “enjoyable” are used among those identified as capable and master directors.

Taken as a whole, these findings suggest the professional development needs for directors differ by career stage. Additional research would be useful to better understand the unique leadership development needs of directors and how to design professional development based on these stages. These findings may be particularly useful for policy-makers, systems developers, and technical assistance providers in tailoring professional learning for optimal leadership development.


Abel, M., Talan, T., & Masterson, M. (2017, January/February). Whole leadership: A framework for early childhood programs. Exchange Magazine, January/February, 39(1), 22-25.

Bella, J., Abel, M., Bloom, P.J., and Talan, T. (2017). Directors’ Role Perception Survey. Wheeling, IL: McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership.

Billman, J. (1995). Child care program directors: What skills do they need? Results of a statewide survey. Early Childhood Education Journal, 23(2), 63-70.

Bloom, P., & Rafanello, D. (1994, June). The professional development of early childhood center directors: key elements of effective training models. Paper presented at the National Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators, Chicago, IL.

Catron, C., & Groves, M. (1999). Teacher to director: A developmental journey. Early Childhood Education Journal, 26(3), 183-188.

Herzenberg, S., Price, M. & Bradley, D. (2005). Losing ground in early childhood education: Declining workforce qualifications in an expanding industry, 1979-2004. Harrisburg, PA: Keystone Research Center.

Rafanello, D. & Bloom, P. (1997, August). The 1997 Illinois Directors’ Study. A Report to the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, Chicago, IL.


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Strong Start’s 2018 budget created from tax dollars

Thursday, July 26, 2018

(Telluride Daily Planet) - Early childhood education tax provides needed funding 

When the Early Childhood Ballot Initiative passed last fall with 63 percent of voters approving the measure, it ensured that $604,116 voter-approved tax dollars would be spent on San Miguel County’s youngest residents.

That investment in the future was solidified at last week’s Board of County Commissioners meeting, when commissioners Kris Holstrom, Joan May and Hilary Cooper unanimously approved the Strong Start budget as outlined by Bright Futures’ Executive Director Kathleen Merritt.

“This is a simple budget to show voters where their investment is going,” Merritt said.

Last November, voters approved an increase in property taxes by .75 of a mill, or an estimated $5.40 for every $100,000 of assessed residential property value. The resulting revenue stream has given leaders in the county’s early childhood education field dedicated funds with which to provide for, among other items, increased infant and toddler daycare facilities, support for educators and infrastructure, and the ability to continually survey and assess area early childcare needs.

The budget details $25,000 for capacity building, which gives needy families increased access to services provided for pre-kindergarten children. The money, Merritt explained to the commissioners, goes toward facility upgrades, family child care grants and support for extending operating hours to accommodate parent working hours, among other identified needs.

The financial assistance line item is $116,732 and helps maximize other state-funded public subsidies.

Before the ballot initiative went to the voters, another key need identified was that of retention and recruitment of early child care and education professionals. With the new influx of tax dollars, educators can be paid better wages and continuing education opportunities can be offered to early childhood education professionals.

San Miguel County is the third-fastest growing county in child population in Colorado, so to proponents of the mill levy and its attendant benefits, the need was acute.

Cheryl Miller served as community advocate for the Strong Start ballot issue and is a former Telluride School District board member and a lifelong advocate for early childhood education. She is currently serving on the Early Childhood Advisory panel.

“The greatest need in early childhood education and care is access to quality services,” she said. “The ballot allows the Early Childhood Council to address this issue in a multi-pronged fashion; grants for quality improvements at early childhood centers, scholarships for teacher education, salary supplements to promote professionalism and low teacher turnover, as well as scholarships for students to improve affordability.”

In the 2018 budget, $116,732 is allocated to provide financial aid to qualifying recipients and $77,184 is dedicated to conducting annual surveys that seek to determine where services are best utilized. Reaching out to families who would most benefit from the services is an ongoing challenge.

“There are many reasons for lack of access and through data gathering we hope to customize these various avenues to best serve our county,” Miller said.

Also in the 2018 budget, $100,000 is dedicated to training, coaching and technical assistance, curriculum and materials, and parenting classes and workshops, among other aims.

Another feature is $9,000 for a grant management portal for all Strong Start funding. “This will house all our grant requests,” Merritt told the commissioners.

There is a one-time $20,000 research and consulting line item that will enable the group to create baselines on financial assistance needs and impacts, school readiness impacts, and for improving the lives of families with young children, among other statistics.

Numerous studies support the positive effects that opportunities provided for pre-kindergarten children and their families resonate in myriad ways, be they positive impacts on the economy, costs saved in law enforcement, and the general well-being of a society with productive citizens. In a 2015 study authored by Robert Lynch for Equitable Growth advocating for a universal prekindergarten program, it was demonstrated that investment in early childhood education is one of the best ways to improve child well-being and increase the educational achievement and productivity of children and adults.


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We have a child-care crisis in this country. We had the solution 78 years ago.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

(The Washington Post) - Millions of babies are born in this country every year, although the numbers are declining. Last year, the United States had its lowest birthrate in 30 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In a new survey, in which participants were asked why they were having fewer children than they wanted, the top responses were almost all economic: “child care is too expensive,” “can’t afford more children,” “waited because of financial instability,” “worried about the economy.” Babies are costly, and the current administration is not offering relief for the majority anytime soon. 

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New schools opening in Denver, Aurora, Douglas County, Broomfield, Thornton, Erie, more

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

(7News) - Multiple school districts across the Front Range will be opening new schools this fall to keep up with our growing population.

Denver Public Schools

Denver Public Schools has four new schools opening this fall. All four are charter schools -- a high school, a middle school and two elementary schools.

  • 5280 High School. Year 1 enrollment: 114, full build: 416
  • KIPP Sunshine Peak Elementary. Year 1: 94 (ECE & K); full build: 469
  • DSST Middle School at Noel Campus. Year 1: 147; full build 440
  • Rocky Mountain Prep Berkeley. Year 1: TBA; full build: 508

Rocky Mountain Prep Berkeley replaces the Cesar Chavez Academy that was closed due to academic performance.

JeffCo Public Schools

While JeffCo Public Schools is not opening any new schools this fall, they do have two changes:

  • Free Horizon Montessori is transitioning from a charter schools to a district innovation school. It will be the building the housed the former Pleasant View Elementary School.
  • Pennington Elementary will now be Peak Expeditionary School at Pennington. They are shifting to a new academic model, district officials said.

Douglas County School District

The Douglas County School District has two new schools opening this fall, both are charter schools:

  • Ascent Classical Academy
  • Leman Academy of Excellence

Cherry Creek School District

The Cherry Creek School District has one new school opening in August - Infinity Middle School.

About 160 sixth-graders planning to attend Infinity actually started classes last year at Sky Vista Middle School.

Interestingly, another school opening later this fall, Altitude Elementary School, will start classes at Infinity Middle School unless its campus is ready to open later this fall.

Aurora Public Schools

Aurora Public Schools is opening one new school building this fall at Mrachek Middle School.

The old building was used last year while the new building was being constructed on the same campus.

The new school isn't quite ready, so students at Mrachek will start classes on September 10.

APS officials said the school is built to accommodate 1,000 students. Enrollment figures for this fall aren't available yet, but officials said Mrachek had 847 students last year.

Adams 12 Five Star Schools

The Adams 12 Five Star School District has a new P-8 school opening in Broomfield.

Thunder Vista P-8 has about 566 registered for classes.

District officials said as the Anthem area grows, the school is expected to handle 900 K-8 students and 128 preschool students, which is capacity.

St. Vrain Valley School District

The St. Vrain Valley School District has two schools opening this fall. One of them is close to capacity already.

The new schools are:

  • Soaring Heights PK-8 in Erie. Enrollment: 875 students; Capacity: 900
  • Grand View Elementary in Frederick. Enrollment: 250 students; Capacity: 650

The district told Denver7 that Erie is one of the fastest growing communities in the district's boundaries.

Boulder Valley School District

While there is construction at existing schools, no new schools are opening this fall, district officials said.

However, voter-passed bonds paid for work at 16 schools.

Among the projects were renovations and improvements at Broomfield High School that included the library, field house, classrooms and cafeteria.

Read more about the bond projects on a special website created by the district.

Poudre School District

The Poudre School District said it is not opening any new schools this fall.

Greeley-Evans School District 6

We are waiting for a response from the district, please check back later.

Brighton School District 27-J

The Brighton School District 27-J is opening a new school building this fall that will house the new Riverdale Ridge High School and Roger Quist Middle School, while the Middle School building is being built across the street.

"Riverdale Ridge will start with 9-10 the first year and add grades each year until the reach 9-12," school officials said. "Roger Quist will have its own wing at Riverdale Ridge, keeping middle and high students somewhat separate, housing grades 6-8."

While Roger Quist Middle School is completed in 2020, those students and staff will move across the street.

The opening of Riverdale Ridge is expected to relieve some of the overcrowding at Brighton High School and Prairie View High School.

Enrollment stats:

  • Brighton High School. Enrollment: 1812; Capacity: 1771
  • Prairie View High School. Enrollment: 1911; Capacity: 1901
  • Riverdale Ridge High School. Enrollment: 520; Capacity: 1756

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Can Big Bird and Elmo Boost Social-Emotional Learning?

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

(Market Brief) - One of the biggest companies in the school market, McGraw-Hill Education, has forged an arrangement with the creator of Sesame Street to deliver social-emotional learning and literacy content to pre-kindergarten and elementary school students.

The deal, announced this week, will integrate videos and lessons from Sesame Workshop within McGraw-Hill Education’s Wonders literacy program.

McGraw-Hill officials say the pre-K curriculum is under development, and the K-5 resources will become available during the 2019-2020 academic year.

Sesame Workshop is a nonprofit media and education organization known for creating the iconic TV show Sesame Street, familiar to generations of children and parents. In a statement, McGraw-Hill and Sesame officials said the new deal “marks an unprecedented level of involvement for Sesame Workshop in the formal learning curriculum-development process.”

The new curriculum infused with Sesame videos and characters will be available only to families in districts that have purchased McGraw-Hill Education’s Wonders program, the latter company said.

Families in school districts that have the program will be able to use the at-home components at no cost, added McGraw-Hill.

Social-emotional learning has seen a huge surge in interest in the nation’s schools over the past few years, and private-sector companies are scrambling to create products to meet that demand.

Many K-12 administrators and advocates see the potential to improve students’ well-being and academic performance by cultivating students’ holistic skills in areas like self-management, communication, and resiliency.

A lot of questions remain, however, about the research surrounding specific classroom strategies and products, and the role that technology should play in schools’ assessments of students’ social-emotional needs.

“Collaborating with Sesame Workshop represents a unique opportunity to work with a pioneer in educational media and social-emotional learning content for young learners,” said Marty Lange, the senior vice president and chief product and operating officer for the school group of McGraw-Hill Education, in a joint statement released by the organizations.

The new arrangement holds the potential for “improving learning outcomes and transforming the school-to-home learning experience,” he added.

Iconic Brand

Sesame Workshop has made previous business arrangements with commercial and nonprofit providers, such as Teachstone LLC and Success for All, among others.

The organization’s vice president and education publisher, Akimi Gibson, said in an e-mail to Education Week that the new deal offers the potential for Sesame Workshop to deliver its content to new audiences, in new formats.

“Throughout Sesame’s fifty-year history, we’ve used the power of media to help kids grow smarter, stronger, and kinder,” she said. “Bringing our proven content into the formal education space on such a large scale—together with an industry-leading partner—will help us extend that impact.”

The content will come to students and families in a variety of forms, in both English and Spanish. The organizations will deliver videos and lessons featuring familiar Sesame Street characters such as Big Bird, Elmo, and Cookie Monster, with content designed to connect literacy skills and social-emotional learning. There will be weekly newsletters for parents designed to help them forge at-home activities around the content, and teacher resources to help educators connect social-emotional learning to situations drawn from daily life.

While bringing valuable educational content to new audiences is always desirable, it remains to be seen if the resources delivered through the just-announced deal will meet that standard for quality, said Warren Buckleitner, the editor and founder of Children’s Technology Review.

Buckleitner said it was disappointing to see Sesame Workshop engage in commercial partnerships, which he fears erodes its nonprofit mission. He was also not convinced that business deals were bringing tangible benefits to the content delivered by Sesame Workshop to families, particularly if the resources are embedded in company platforms like McGraw-Hill Education’s.

It’s also fair to question the extent to which the partnership will result in either side producing a lot of new, truly innovative educational materials—or merely repackaged content, with slick marketing behind them, said Buckleitner, whose organization reviews interactive media and tech products for schools and parents.

“Is this any better than the stuff that was available 10 years ago?” Buckleitner asked. “At the end of the day, the kids don’t care about the commercial relationship. [What matters to them and their families] is the quality on the screen…It’s about quality, quality, quality.”

Sesame Workshop’s Gibson said that while the K-1 curriculum in the new agreement is curated from a library of existing resources, the instructional resources and parents’ supports are entirely new. Additionally, new student-facing multimedia content for grade 1 has been developed, she said.

She said partnerships like the McGraw-Hill Education deal are extensions “of our mission-driven, community-based work to reach the kids and families who need us most.”

The content is top quality based on the organization’s “whole child” curriculum, which is continually being improved through research and revision, Gibson added.

Our curriculum “puts kids first in everything we do,” Gibson said. “By putting our content and resources in the capable hands of educators and parents, we hope to spark valuable real-time interactions both in and outside of school.”


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More cities implement universal pre-K when state, national efforts fall short

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

(Education Dive) -  

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