The U.S. Department of Education has awarded two
grants to the Early Learning program at the Johns Hopkins
Center for Social
Organization of Schools to support its work with
Baltimore City Head Start centers.
The grants, totaling $8.9 million over three years,
are for Project INVEST and for the JHU Language and
Project INVEST, which will build school readiness
skills for 3- to 5-year-olds through teacher training, is
one of only three projects in the country to receive a 2006
Early Childhood Educator Professional Development Program
grant. It totals $4.8 million for three years.
A partnership of Johns Hopkins and Baltimore City Head
Start, Project INVEST — which stands for Involving,
Nurturing and Valuing Every Student and Teacher —
provides intensive training for Head Start teachers,
assistant teachers and Head Start children and their
parents. The project includes the essential components of
effective preschool reading and math programs, such as
proven curriculum and classroom management strategies;
support for family involvement; tested approaches for
children with special needs; and methods for addressing
child abuse and neglect. For the adults, it will include
college courses, Web-based training and a Head Start
The JHU Language and Literacy Project was one of 32
programs in 25 states to be awarded an Early Reading First
grant. The literacy project, which received $4.1 million,
is the only Maryland recipient.
Barbara Wasik, director of the Early Learning Program,
said that original supporters were key in helping CSOS
secure this new funding.
"We would never have qualified for these grants, or
even been able to get the literacy project off the ground,
without the early, and continued, support of two local
foundations, the Krieger Fund, which has a history of
supporting Johns Hopkins University, and the Lockhart
Vaughn Foundation," Wasik said. "They provided the seed
money for us to work in the city Head Starts. This new
funding will allow us to provide comprehensive, intensive
professional development to Head Start teachers as they
prepare their children for school."
The Early Reading First grant will allow the literacy
project to develop "centers of educational excellence" in
four city Head Start programs that prepare preschoolers to
enter kindergarten with the necessary language, cognitive
and early reading skills to ensure school success, Wasik
The goal of the Early Reading First grant is to
prevent the high rate of literacy problems prevalent in the
poorest neighborhoods. Johns Hopkins researchers and mentor
trainers will be working with four centers, bringing a
scientifically based literacy curriculum to approximately
275 children from low-income families.
These new grants will enable the literacy project to
meet the needs of more youngsters and their teachers.