RESI partnership to help children enter kindergarten ready to learn

Three-year $650,000 federal grant to create early childhood experience database for state

TOWSON, Md. (Oct. 28, 2008)—–TU’s RESI research and consulting group, in partnership with the Maryland State Department of Education and Washington-based research organization Child Trends, has entered into a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Administration for Children and Families.

The research grant, renewable for up to three years and worth up to $650,000, will allow the partners to merge databases on early childhood experiences from several different sources, creating a database with unique research potential.

“This exciting opportunity will allow us to create an infrastructure for research on early childhood educational policy with national implications,” said Nancy Grasmick, state superintendent of schools.

The database will allow research into the role of the childcare subsidy program in helping children arrive at kindergarten ready to learn, and will provide additional insights into the parental decision-making process around day care, prekindergarten and educational opportunities in early childhood.

RESI will provide project management assistance as well as technical support for the data consolidation process. Child Trends will lend its expertise to the research portion of the endeavor, which will include focus groups of parents, providers and resource and referral agency personnel.  It will also take charge of preparing and presenting research papers and briefs to disseminate the results of the research.

MSDE's Unique Student Identifier, assigned by the state’s Division of Accountability and Assessment, will expedite the database merging process. A research advisory group comprised of local stakeholders and experts from around the nation will be assembled to help direct the research process, to ensure that it addresses important policy questions, and to ensure the confidentiality and security of the databases involved. Maryland Committee for Children and various Maryland childcare provider organizations also will help steer the process.

 “We believe this project will create a durable set of research procedures that will benefit Maryland State Department of Education early childhood objectives well into the next decade,” said John Spears, RESI’s senior human services consultant, who will serve as project manager.





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