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星期一, 6月 13, 2016

Conference at Wheelock College highlights the challenges and opportunities for early educators who are English language learners

Conference at Wheelock College highlights the challenges and opportunities for early educators who are English language learners

Speakers and panelists from state government, academia and advocacy groups will share strategies to advance immigrant early education workforce
On Monday, June 13, the Community Advocates for Young Learners (CAYL) Institute and the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA) will host a leadership conference at Wheelock College to explore strengthening educational and career pathways for immigrant and limited English proficient child educators in Massachusetts. The conference will feature findings from the recently released report, Opening Pathways: Strengthening Opportunities for Massachusetts Early Educators Who Are English Language Learners, funded by the Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge and developed in conjunction with the Department of Early Education and Care and the CAYL Institute.
In the state and nationally, the immigrant share of early childhood workers has tripled since 1990, and now makes up 20 percent of that workforce in the Commonwealth. Immigrant early educators, however,  face steep odds navigating a career pathway to the bachelor’s degree increasingly required for early education teachers. With 1 in 4 children under six in Massachusetts growing up speaking a language other than English at home, leaders in government, academia and the nonprofit sector are increasingly seeking ways to support a workforce that brings unique linguistic and cultural competencies to the education of these young children.

Speakers at the conference, which will take place from 9am-12:30pm at Wheelock College's Brookline campus, will include Commissioner of Early Education and Care Tom Weber; Marie St. Fleur, President and CEO of the Bessie Tartt Wilson Institute for Children; Michael Taylor, President of Urban College; and Valora Washington, founder, President and CEO of the CAYL Institute. Three immigrant teachers and program directors from the Community Action Agency of Somerville Head Start program will share lessons from their own careers. A panel discussion will include academic leaders, professional development specialists, and early childhood advocates. More than 100 participants are scheduled to be in attendance.

The conference will focus on sharing knowledge and building support across the state’s public higher education and adult education systems to meet the needs of this critical and growing segment of the state's early education and care workforce. It will explore strategies to help immigrant early educators gain access to associates and bachelor's degrees through creative models using prior learning assessments and bilingual coursework, and alignment of program and credentialing requirements across community and four-year colleges in both public and private systems. The larger goal of the event is to start a conversation among the broad range of system stakeholders—in higher education, early education and care, adult education, policy advocacy, and other arenas—that will lead to greater awareness and alignment around this issue.
The conference will take place at Wheelock College, Ladd Room, 43 Hawes Street, Brookline, MA. For more information about the event or MIRA's work with young children in immigrant families and immigrant child educators contact Jeff Gross, Director, New Americans Integration Institute, jgross@miracoalition.org, 617-350-5480, x228.