Ypsilanti, Michigan, January 16, 2014 — Strengthening the academic and life outcomes of children in Flint, Michigan, by improving local early childhood education programs is the goal of a recent grant from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation to the HighScope Educational Research Foundation. Under the one-year, $240,000 grant, HighScope will work with area educators and other partners to explore, analyze, and assess existing early education programs in Flint and develop the tools to expand and strengthen such services in the community.

Headquartered in Ypsilanti, Michigan, HighScope promotes the development of children and youth worldwide and provides services for evaluation and return on investment of early learning programs. During the coming year, HighScope will use the grant to perform two key tasks:

  • Early childhood education professional development: Working in collaboration with 40 early childhood education professionals, HighScope will provide infant-toddler and preschool training sessions and classroom coaching. A pre- and post-assessment will be administered in each classroom to determine individual teacher growth.
  • City scan: HighScope will collect data about the quantity and quality of existing early childhood programs and services in the Flint community as well as gaps in the existing services. Using this information, HighScope will assess the strengths and challenges of the community’s early childhood programs and services.

A review of data from the Center for Educational Performance and Information, Michigan Department of Education (mischooldata.org), and the U.S. Census Bureau (census.gov) reveals that by 2012, 53 percent of children (ages 5–17) in the Flint Community Schools attendance area lived in poverty. While almost one-third (28.6 percent) were not proficient in reading, and more than half (59.2 percent) of the third graders were not proficient in math, by the beginning of high school, the percentage of students not proficient in reading was one-third and, in math, was almost two-thirds (eighth grade, 74.8 percent).

“We believe these statistics can be improved through early education intervention,” said Cheryl Polk, HighScope’s President. “According to numerous research studies, teacher quality and school leadership are two of the most critical factors in creating high-quality interventions that ultimately help children achieve on-time high school graduation, higher lifetime earnings, and less crime.”

About Charles Stewart Mott Foundation
Established in 1926 by an automotive pioneer, the Mott Foundation is a private philanthropy committed to supporting projects that promote a just, equitable, and sustainable society. It supports nonprofit programs throughout the United State and, on a limited geographic basis, internationally. Grantmaking is focused in four programs: Civil Society, Environment, Flint Area, and Pathways Out of Poverty. Besides Flint, offices are located in metropolitan Detroit, Johannesburg (South Africa), and London. The Foundation, with 2012 year-end assets of $2.28 billion, made 439 grants totaling $91 million. For more information, visit www.mott.org.

About HighScope

HighScope Educational Research Foundation is an early childhood leader in pursuit of a world where all children have the opportunity to develop socially, emotionally, and cognitively so they have satisfying, productive lives. HighScope supports the development of young children from birth through age eight by developing and providing quality, research-based, high-quality curricula, assessments, professional learning, and other supports in the context of families and their communities.

HighScope’s roots extend back to the Perry Preschool Project (1962–1967). Launched in Ypsilanti, Michigan and led by Ypsilanti Schools psychologist David Weikart and Perry Elementary School principal Charles Eugene Beatty, the Perry Preschool Project was one of the first early childhood programs in the United States intentionally designed to increase school success for preschool children living in poverty. Today, HighScope’s work can be found in classrooms throughout the United States and in educational settings around the globe.


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Tara Baliat
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