Here’s a quick update on the status of major planning efforts initiated last fall by the Council’s Preschool for All resolution.
On Monday, February 3, at 9:30 a.m. in City Hall you can hear national experts Dr. Hirokazu Yoshikawa and Dr. Christina Weiland present new research on the benefits of universal preschool. We welcome you to Council Chambers to see them in person or you can also watch them live online or on TV through Seattle Channel 21.
Additionally, the City’s Office for Education has selected a “Dream Team” of renowned experts to assist the City in designing a high-quality, universal preschool program.This team of consultants is comprised of local, state, and national experts in early learning best practices:
- Dr. Ellen Frede implemented high-quality, universal preschool in numerous districts throughout New Jersey and advised on the structure of the recently enacted universal preschool program in San Antonio, Texas. She has direct experience braiding federal, state, and local early learning programs.
- Dr. Steven Barnett is Director of the National Institute of Early Education Research at Rutgers University and a national expert on preschool programs in all 50 states. (He also came and talked to the Council last year.)
- John Bancroft and Tracey Yee Columbia City Consulting bring a state-level perspective. Mr. Bancroft helped author the State of Washington’s 2011 quality standards for preschool.
- Locally, BERK Consultants will complete a preschool “gap analysis” to be presented to the Education and Governance Committee on February 5. They will also ensure consistency across efforts as the coordinating consultant.
In addition to selecting the reputable consultants, the Office for Education filled two key positions with one-year funding provided by City Council:
- Dr. Erica Johnson will be Project Manager for Seattle’s Preschool for All. She earned her PhD in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Erica has been an Adjunct Instructor at West Virginia University, an assessor and field researcher with the Head Start Cares project, and a research assistant at the Wisconsin Center for Educational Research. She has worked in schools as a kindergarten teacher, reading tutor, and researcher in numerous states, including New Jersey, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
- Rachel Schulkin will serve as the Outreach and Engagement Manager for the program. Rachel recently worked at Neighborhood House, a Seattle provider of Head Start, Early Head Start, and Step Ahead early learning programs. At Neighborhood House, Rachel provided support for teachers, staff, home visitors, and families living and working with young children with disabilities. Rachel has been a teacher in Oakland and in Seattle Public Schools.
Both the consultants and the new hires will be overseen by the Office for Education’s Early Learning Manager Sonja Griffin.
Check out the City Council’s Preschool for All website for the latest media coverage and updates on our efforts.