News Bites – Summer, 2019

Introducing Elsa Holguín

We are thrilled to welcome and introduce you to our new president and CEO, Elsa Holguín! Elsa officially joined our team on July 15, and we couldn’t be happier to have her on board. A true pillar of Colorado’s early childhood education community, she comes to us from the Rose Community Foundation where she served as the senior program officer for child & family development for 21 years. During that time, she oversaw more than $50 million in early childhood development grants, positioning the foundation as a leader in this area. She also played a pivotal role in developing the initiative that became DPP.

Elsa is originally from Nuevo Casas Grandes, Chihuahua, Mexico. In her spare time, she loves family time, meditation, walking, gardening and reading. Read more about Elsa here.

Please join DPP and Rose Community Foundation in welcoming Elsa as the new President & CEO of DPP on Thursday, Sept. 5 from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. at our office. Our address is 305 Park Ave W, Suite B, Denver, CO  80205. If you plan to attend, please RSVP here. We hope to see you there!

2018 Report to the Community: Learning Starts with Listening

Our 2018 Report to the Community is out! Because listening to our stakeholders is a priority at DPP, whether we’re examining research results or gathering feedback from providers and families, we spent much of 2018 out in the community. We invite you to check out the report to learn what we discovered and how we are evolving to better meet the needs of our stakeholders. We also celebrate the fact that we were able to serve more than 4,700 Denver children and families in the 2017-2018 program year and that in total those families received more than $13.5 million in tuition support. We’re proud of the milestones we accomplished in 2018 and what they mean for Denver—and we remain deeply grateful for the support of the City and County of Denver and its residents. None of this would be possible without the support of Denver voters who understand the importance of early childhood education.

A Conversation with Ellen Frede of the National Institute for Early Education Research

DPP was honored to have Dr. Ellen Frede, PhD, senior co-director at the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) at Rutgers University and research professor at Rutgers’ Graduate School of Education, as the panel host at the BUILD QRIS National Meeting in New Orleans in June. DPP co-presented with Philadelphia highlighting city early childhood initiatives. 

In her work, Dr. Frede applies what she has learned throughout her varied career in early childhood education. It includes her experience as a teacher of ages 0-8, curriculum and professional development specialist at the HighScope Foundation, teacher educator at The College of New Jersey, pre-k administrator for the New Jersey Department of Education, education lead in a large Head Start grantee and early learning lead at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

After the conference, we sat down with her to discuss her research.

DPP: What was your biggest takeaway from the conversation with the participants at the BUILD conference?
Ellen: I haven’t attended many QRIS events before, and I was pleased by the sophistication of discussion. And it was good to see so many city teams and programs show up to talk about how we can all make our systems more effective. It was encouraging.
 
DPP: What trends are you seeing in the national conversation about preschool education?
Ellen:
There’s a lot of attention these days on the preschool education workforce, focusing on improving teacher qualifications and on compensation for providers. It’s a big conversation, and many organizations are working it. I’m also seeing many programs emerge for professional learning to support teachers, which is great.
 
DPP: DPP offers families tuition support regardless of their income. What does your research show as it pertains to these kinds of preschool benefits?
Ellen: The number of children failing in school is actually higher for middle-income families than low-income families, and that’s because there are many more middle-income families. In most cities, middle-income children are arguably two-thirds to three-fifths of the child population, and  research points to universal preschool as a strategy to help prevent student failure. We understand more than ever that children are learning a lot before they enter kindergarten and even before they enter preschool, and we can’t miss these opportunities to enrich their learning.
 
DPP: NIEER calculates that at the nation’s current rate of growth in pre-k, it would take 150 years to reach 75% enrollment, and that doesn’t even take into consideration the quality of the education. Do you think the locally funded programs were borne out of this need?
Ellen: Pre-k is growing because people understand a child who is behind when starting kindergarten will struggle – and will continue to struggle for a long time – to catch up. Children from low-income families may benefit more as a group but all children benefit. I wish everyone knew that giving a child one or two years of high-quality preschool can positively and significantly influence that child’s long-term education and success in adulthood.
 
In her work, Dr. Frede applies what she has learned throughout her varied career in early childhood education. It includes her experience as a teacher of ages 0-8, curriculum and professional development specialist at the HighScope Foundation, teacher educator at The College of New Jersey, pre-k administrator for the New Jersey Department of Education, education lead in a large Head Start grantee and early learning lead at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

DPP’s Gap Scholarship Launched September 1

We continue to create new ways to connect with Denver families and preschoolers, innovating on our current model as we strive to reach more eligible families and provide the highest quality early education experience possible for our community.

While high-quality preschool helps all children who participate, the benefits are particularly great for children who come from low-income families. In an effort to prioritize this children of highest need, DPP announced the creation of the Gap Scholarship pilot for the 2019-2020 school year, along with strategies for measuring its effectiveness at making preschool more affordable for Denver’s lowest-income families.

The Gap Scholarship program is designed to support students attending preschool for a school or work day and do not receive other public preschool funds. The scholarship will support families living at or below 300% of the federal poverty line who pay more than 12% of their income to preschool tuition costs after their DPP tuition credits.

To participate, families must be participating at a pilot site, complete the Gap Scholarship Agreement and be willing to participate in the evaluation of the pilot program. To learn more, please email us at info@dpp.org

DPP Distributes $315,000 directly to teachers, directors and schools

We believe in attracting and retaining highly effective teachers and directors by offering professional development and training opportunities to advance their careers.

During the 2018-2019 school year, nearly 500 different teachers and directors have earned more than $180,000 in individual achievement awards paid by DPP. We’re committed to quality improvement by providing these programs, coaching and demonstrating high-quality teaching practices.

Participating preschools have earned nearly $135,000 in program achievement awards, which were created to financially support providers and their commitment to providing high-quality learning experiences for DPP students. In addition, DPP preschools have participated in 5,000+ coaching hours over the course of the 2018-2019 school year. A huge thank you and congratulations to our hard-working preschool providers and their staff!

New and Improved DPP.org

Our website recently received a face lift and has been streamlined to improve the user experience. Visitors will experience optimized navigation, loading time and speed. We also have an updated Find a Preschool tool for families of preschoolers as well. The difference should be indistinguishable but our goal is always to improve your experience. Take a look!