News Bites - Spring, 2018

June 5th, 2018

DPP Supplies Early Educators with $40,000 in Scholarships Towards Earning Professional Qualifications

In keeping with the goal to ensure there are well-qualified early childhood educators in Denver, DPP recently awarded 38 aspiring preschool teachers scholarships to become Early Childhood Teacher (ECT) qualified.
 
Scholarship funds were used to cover the cost of attending the spring Child Development Associate Credential™ Training and Seminar administered by Mile High Early Learning. Each participant in the spring 2018 cohort received 120 hours of practical training within eight modules that align with early childhood education competency standards in Colorado as well as nationally.
 
DPP provided the opportunity for the participants to attend the trainings in either English or Spanish to support both English-only and English/Spanish dual-language learners. Twenty-five educators took part in the English-speaking cohort and 13 in the Spanish-speaking cohort.
 
“The CDA® scholarship is one of several supports we offer Denver’s early education workforce to encourage them to strengthen their skills and positive impact in the classroom,” said Chris Miller who is the Director of Quality Initiatives at the Denver Preschool Program. “We’re excited to see how they’ll grow professionally and plan on creating more opportunities for others to follow in their footsteps.”

 

Four Takeaways From the Latest Deep Dive Into DPP's Impact

The results are in for the Denver Preschool Program’s annual operations evaluation and, according to a summary released this spring by the Butler Institute for Families at the University of Denver, they’re largely favorable.
 
The evaluation looked at the extent to which DPP increased access to quality preschools within Denver during the 2016-2017 academic year, as well as parent perceptions toward the organization’s purpose and value. Using data collected from program staff, stakeholders, providers, parents and eligible families who declined to participate, researchers concluded:

1) DPP helped families access their first choice preschool.

2) DPP made preschool more accessible for low-income families who could not have afforded it otherwise.

3) DPP expanded the number of hours families can send their child to preschool.

4) DPP increased the quality of participating preschools. 

The researchers also recommended actions the organization can take to enhance its efforts within the community. View the full evaluation here.

 

DPP Shares Their Latest Successes with City Council

Denver Preschool Program - Denver City and County BuildingDenver Preschool Program President and CEO Jennifer Landrum gave a presentation to members of Denver City Council in April. This presentation was part of the organization’s annual efforts to ensure accountability and raise awareness of its community benefits.
 
Jennifer shared with government stakeholders how well DPP is meeting key goals related to preschool access and quality, as well as the latest strategies being put in place to help all Denver families maximize their tuition credit.
 
Councilwoman Debbie Ortega probed into how the refreshed tuition credit scale meets the needs of families at the highest income level without taking funds from the lowest level. Once assured no child would be left behind, Councilman Paul Lopez emphasized the need for more collaboration at the grassroots level to reach “communities where these folks are,” because “every community is a little different.”
 
The meeting ended with a poignant observation made by Councilman and moderator Paul Kashmann, “Whether we’re talking about obesity, or learning difficulties or educational downfall…[the same geographic areas are affected]. It’s the west side, it’s the northeast and it’s a little crescent around downtown. That map has to change, and we appreciate what [DPP] is trying to do to make that happen.” 

 

Coming Soon: 2018 Status of Denver's Children Report

Learn how the Denver Preschool Program is contributing to child well-being in Denver in the upcoming 2018 Status of Denver's Children report by the Denver's Office of Children's Affairs. The report, prepared by Lisa Piscopo, PhD., is used by elected officials, program administrators and community members to inform interventions that improve outcomes for all Denver's kids.

DPP is proud to be featured in the 2018 report as one of the organizations within the City and County of Denver making significant strides toward this shared mission. In case you missed it, view the 2017 Status of Denver’s Children Report.

 

Study: States Need More Policies Supporting Dual Language Learners

A new study by the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) at Rutgers University shows that bilingual preschools work but vary in quality and quantity around the country. NBC News reports that only 35 of the 60 state-maintained preschool programs that were surveyed have any policies about dual language learners, despite 23 percent of the 1.5 million children they served identifying as such. Colorado, whose population is 21 percent Hispanic, is among the states without bilingual early education policies on the books. Read more at NBC News.