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Kerry, Lynch, Tierney Announce UMASS Boston to Receive $3.7 Million for Early Childhood Education Programs in Lynn

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Originally published: 9/2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 21, 2009
CONTACT: Brigid O’Rourke, 617-565-8252

BOSTON - Senator John Kerry and Congressmen Stephen Lynch and John Tierney today announced that the University of Massachusetts-Boston, Institute for Community Inclusion, Early Childhood will receive $3,763,701 in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Education’s Early Reading First Program.

The University of Massachusetts-Boston, in partnership with the Lynn Public Schools and the Gregg Neighborhood House in Lynn will create eight preschool Centers of Excellence to work with 300 preschool children identified as "at-risk for academic failure." The project, Early Literacy Matters (ELM), will work with the 18 center-based preschool classrooms in Lynn where 41 languages are spoken, 75 percent of pre-k to 5th graders do not speak English as their primary language or have very limited English proficiency, and 16 percent of students receive special education services. ELM will offer a program of research-based curricula, professional development and community/family development to enrich the learning experience. ELM aims to double the number of at-risk children currently served by the city’s pre-school programs.

"There's no such thing as equal opportunity without a first class education and this innovative literacy program will ensure that hundreds of our state’s neediest students get a strong start," said Senator Kerry. "During tough economic times like these, it’s more important than ever to invest in cost-effective, research-proven early educational programs like this one."

"This is a big boost for the Lynn Public Schools and for UMass. I offer my sincere thanks to my friend Congressman John Tierney who not only guided this effort with his thoughtful leadership but he also provided the big push to get this done from his position on the Education and Labor Committee. My thanks as well to Senator Kerry without whom these resources would not otherwise be available," Congressman Stephen F. Lynch said.

"Operation Bootstrap, North Shore Community College and the Lynn Public Library are all critical to our community in that they all have the systems in place to tackle the problem of childhood illiteracy. This funding will be a welcomed injection to help these local institutions reach even more young students and families so that they may benefit from the support that the combined services provide," said Congressman John F. Tierney (D-MA).

The funding will also allow three local institutions - Operation Bootstrap, North Shore Community College and the Lynn Public Library - to offer services to educate families and encourage support for children’s' literacy development.

UMass-Boston will also collaborate with Early Childhood Associates, which is a New England-based national training and research small business owned by women, to implement the early literacy training Steps to Success to six early literacy coaches who will provide ongoing classroom-based coaching to teachers.

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