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Seattle City Officials visit Ellis Early Education Center

by Julie Walker
Wednesday Mar 5, 2014

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and Joel Ryan, Executive Director Washington Assoc of Head Start and ECEAP.
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and Joel Ryan, Executive Director Washington Assoc of Head Start and ECEAP.  

Submitted by Ellis Memorial

On Tuesday, March 4, a group of forty leaders from the City of Seattle, including Mayor Ed Murray, spent the morning visiting three preschool classrooms at Ellis Memorial's Early Education Center. Coordinated by the Boston Public Schools at the request of Seattle city officials, the visit was sparked by the success of the BPS preschool model, which Seattle is considering replicating. That model makes preschool available to every four year old in the city.

Among the reasons cited for the success of Boston's preschool program are the strength of the curriculum and a focus on instructional quality that includes ongoing coaching and evaluations for teachers. The results of those evaluations help coaches, teachers and administrators address areas of weakness.

The delegation from Seattle included city, county and state officials, education leaders, and representatives from the city's nonprofit, business, organized labor, law enforcement and philanthropic communities. They were accompanied by Dr. Jason Sachs, Director of Early Education at Boston Public Schools, and members of BPS staff. The group spent over two hours observing instruction and classroom management in the two preschool classrooms Ellis operates in partnership with the Boston Public Schools. Enrolling forty children aged four and five, the Pre-K and K-1 classrooms at Ellis use curriculum selected by BPS, and have teaching staff who are coached and evaluated by BPS.

Said Ellis CEO Leo Delaney, "Partnering with community-based organizations to provide high quality preschool is a win-win for both the public schools and local nonprofits like Ellis that have been pioneers in early education. Research has shown that children from low-income families benefit the most from access to year-round, full day, high quality early education, and those are the families Ellis has been serving for over a century."

Ellis Memorial serves working families in the South End, Dorchester, Roxbury and neighboring communities with early education and care, out-of-school time programs for youth in grades K through 6, and an adult day health program for disabled and elderly adults. Over 75% of the individuals served by Ellis programs are from low-income families.

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