By: Vickie Ramos Harris, Associate Director of Educational Equity, Policy
Educare Los Angeles at Long Beach (ELALB) was officially launched at the November 1st ribbon-cutting ceremony, celebrating the opening of the 22nd Educare in the nation and the second Educare in California.
Grounded in research, the national Educare model is known to be one of the most effective early care and education (ECE) models in the country and serves as a regional and national catalyst for changing ECE systems, policies and practice. Its key features include: data utilization; embedded professional development; high-quality teaching practices; and intensive family engagement. Moreover, the Educare model at Long Beach has been intentional about bringing dual language learners (DLLs) to the center of ECE quality, given that in California, 60% of children birth to age five are learning English in addition to their home language. This Educare model in Long Beach builds on the research on the power of ECE, family engagement, and early language development and bilingualism, and provides leadership in demonstrating quality ECE that is rooted in embracing California’s rich diversity.
A Model to Advance ECE Policy and Practice for California’s Children
Today, ELALB serves 160 toddlers, preschoolers and their families from low-income communities. The site provides full-day, full-year programs and wraparound services in a new 32,000 square foot facility. The ELALB site will serve as a demonstration site and learning hub where student-teachers in college can acquire hands-on experience and educators currently in the ECE field—including family child care and family friends and neighbors—can further develop their skills and knowledge.
This Educare site will also serve as a beacon for policy change to expand high-quality ECE by modeling and sharing best practices, and illuminating what high quality ECE entails in California. ELALB will showcase:
- Best practices in prenatal, infant and toddler and preschool settings;
- Quality ECE that embraces and bolsters the rich diversity of California’s families and brings DLLs to the center of ECE quality-design;
- Strong systems of support and professional development for the ECE workforce;
- Community investment and engagement with parents as essential partners in their children’s learning and life success; and
- Strong connections between ECE and TK-12 education that ensure children thrive across the systems.
Leading Innovation Through Partnerships
The fundamental aspect of the Educare model is leading change through extensive partnerships across systems that builds a critical network of support for innovative practice.
For example, the ELALB model has already shown important leadership in the partnership with Long Beach Unified School District on flexible use of funding, demonstrating how districts can use Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) dollars for ECE and DLL programs.
Another example is the partnership between the ELALB and Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), working together to implement high-quality ECE programs are designed around the assets and needs of DLLs. Both ELALB and LAUSD are integrating the Sobrato Early Academic Language (SEAL) model, a research- and evidence-based professional development model recognized by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. The ELALB model uses two approaches:
- English-Spanish dual language programs; and
- English with home language support.
These are just a few examples of the strong partnerships that ELALB will promote to drive collaboration and innovation across California’s diverse mixed delivery ECE system, working to drive impact beyond the walls of Educare.
The Strength of Community Partnerships
This effort in Long Beach began in 2014. Over a two-year period, the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce/UNITE-LA formed a collaborative partnership (formalized in 2016) that was united by a common mission: reducing the achievement gap for the region’s most vulnerable children and serving as a catalyst for advancing policy and practice for high-quality ECE statewide.
Today the partnership includes:
Advisory Board members:
- Advancement Project California
- Buffett Early Childhood Fund
- Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce/UNITE LA
- Los Angeles Partnership for Early Childhood Investment
- Long Beach Education Foundation
- Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD)
- The Mayor’s Fund For Education—Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia
Other key partners:
- Educare Learning Network
- First 5 Los Angeles
- First 5 California
- Ounce of Prevention Fund
Special recognition is due to a few key individuals who helped plant seeds early in the process: Sonia Campos-Rivera, Kim Pattillo Brownson, and David Rattray.
Educare Los Angeles at Long Beach is an exciting catalyst for change and innovation for California’s children, birth to age five. Advancement Project California looks forward to continuing our partnership with ELALB and the wider ECE community to advance policy and practice. Through collective advocacy we can illuminate the importance of early learning and provide clarity on the necessary investments that will strengthen California’s mixed-delivery system and ensure our youngest learners are thriving.
The History of Educare
The Buffett Early Childhood Fund and the Ounce joined forces to build a national model that emphasized the value of quality ECE for children from birth to five years of age. This effort created a network of early learning champions around the country with a goal of narrowing the achievement gap for children living in poverty. The Educare Learning Network is now a partnership involving the Buffett Early Childhood Fund, the Ounce of Prevention Fund and more than 100 other public-private partners across the country. The network includes 23 high-performing, well-evaluated Educare schools that are changing how America approaches early learning.
Connecting with Educare Los Angeles at Long Beach
Educare Los Angeles at Long Beach is located on the campus of Barton Elementary School in Long Beach Unified School District. In 2017, Maria Harris became the principal of ELALB and in 2018, Roberto Viramontes became the Director of Public Affairs. Both of these leaders bring a wealth of experience to their work in serving and advocating for California’s youngest learners. For more information, contact Roberto Viramontes at: RViramontes@lachamber.com.