Earn Federal Funds
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 Literacy Project.
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 training institute.
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 said.
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.
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