January 27th, 2012
Minnesota joins eight other states – California, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Washington – in receiving funding from the federal Race to the Top grant. The goal of the Race to the Top program is to transform early learning programs and services within a state so that all children are well prepared for elementary school. Minnesota received $45 million, $20 million of which has been set aside for high poverty areas in Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Itasca County, and the White Earth Reservation. Specifically, MDE’s press release states that the Race to the Top money will be used by Minnesota for:
- Improving governance structure and expanding assessment and data systems, which will improve accountability and decision making;
- Enhancing professional development among early childhood professionals; and
- Using the Parent Aware Quality Rating and Improvement System to improve program accountability.
Although Minnesota has one of the largest achievement gaps in the United States, research has shown that intervention at an early age can have lasting effects that can help close the gap. ACET has been involved in evaluating a number of early learning projects and has published the results of one study on the long lasting results of quality early childhood education.* We are very glad to see Minnesota taking the lead on such an important educational period of children’s lives.
* Zimmerman, S. S., Rodriguez, M. C., Rewey, K. L., & Heidemann, S. L. (2008). The impact of an early literacy initiative on the long term academic success of diverse students. Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk, 13, 452-481. doi: 10.1080/10824660802427744
January 19th, 2012
Did you know that the Chinese New Year is next Monday, January 23, 2012, marking the year of the Dragon? Growing up in Hong Kong, my family spent a week preparing dishes for the New Year – all sorts of wonton and lotus leaf-wrapped items – and then spent another week celebrating. I remember getting red envelopes with small sums of money from my parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles. Traditionally, only kids got the red envelopes with small sums of money. As kids, we were encouraged to save the money for a better future. The predictions made each year were a big deal to Chinese families because they predicted good fortune in the coming year.
Wishing you and your family a healthy and prosperous new year!
January 12th, 2012
The Early Childhood Personnel Preparation (ECPP) project is a statewide study assessing the capacity and effectiveness of Minnesota’s 2- and 4-year institutes of higher education to prepare early childhood educators and care providers. Minnesota is one of the first states to seek to define effectiveness of early childhood higher education programs and to identify gaps in data that is currently collected. In addition, data collected throughout the ECPP project will inform further investigation of the capacity and effectiveness of Minnesota’s institutes of higher education and will likely be a model for other states. ACET is managing the ECPP project in collaboration with multiple state agencies (Minnesota’s Departments of Education, Human Services, and Health) and ten advisory group members.
Further information on the ECPP project can be found on ACET’s website: (http://www.acetinc.com/ECPP/AG.htm), and includes:
- ECPP advisory group and state agency members;
- Advisory group meeting agendas and notes;
- Evaluation framework;
- Online resources (databases and directories); and
- Proposed uses for the study findings.
Coming in June 2012 you will find the technical reports outlining our findings!
If you have any questions about the project, feel free to contact Dan or Joseph at 952.922.1811.
January 9th, 2012
The Bush Foundation has recently announced deadlines for the 2012-2013 Bush Fellowship Program. The goal of the Bush Fellowship program “is to foster courageous leadership to mobilize communities” and provides individuals an opportunity to improve and enhance their leadership skills while solving problems in their communities. The Bush Foundation serves communities in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and 23 Native Nations in the upper Midwest.
If you would like to learn more about the Bush Fellowship Program or obtain application materials, please visit: http://www.bushfoundation.org/solutions/building-leadership-capacity/bush_fellowship
January 6th, 2012
Lately I’ve become preoccupied with a wonderful resource on visual information – vizthink. Vizthink’s focus is on effective visual communication in a variety of forms. The most obvious form of visual communication is presentations, but vizthink also has information and resources on sketching, infographics, facilitating conversations, videos, and interface designs. Vizthink offers articles/blogs, webinars, podcasts, and a list of resources for those who are passionate about finding new, interesting, or more effective ways to present data visually.
For instance, the link below shows a 2010 video by Alex Lundry, the VP and Director of Research at TargetPoint. This was part of a presentation to Ignite DC entitled “Chart Wars: The Political Power of Data Visualization.” In the video Alex talks about data visualization ‘sins’ that can be used to skew data so it is less accurate.
Chart Wars: The Political Power of Data Visualization
There are also vizthink groups on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook through which you can have conversations with others who are interested in visual communication. I hope you find vizthink interesting and provocative!