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Early Childhood Professional Development Grant Abstract

Barbara A. Wasik
Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins University Early Learning department at CSOS will implement a comprehensive professional development (PD) program, Project INVEST, to improve early childhood education and school readiness programs that serve high-poverty, minority children. Project INVEST (Involving, Nurturing, and Valuing Every Student and Teacher)—a partnership between JHU and Baltimore City Head Start and relevant state agencies, community-based organizations, and local universities— includes essential components of an effective preschool program:

(a) empirically-based curriculum and classroom management strategies,

(b) tested strategies for children with special needs and English language learners,

(c) assessment strategies to identify and meet all children’s needs,

(d) support for family involvement in developing readiness skills, and

(e) methods for addressing child abuse and neglect.

Project INVEST will provide intensive training for Head Start teachers and assistants. The comprehensive program of ongoing PD includes a coaching model, college courses, web-based training, and a Head Start (HS) training institute with mentor teachers to ensure capacity and expertise for continued project implementation.

The effectiveness of Project INVEST will be assessed using an experimental design approach, considered the “gold standard” in education research, using both qualitative and quantitative data. Teachers will be assessed on their knowledge and implementation of the project. Children will be assessed on language and literacy skills. Because the collaboration represents an enhanced implementation of intervention models that have demonstrated effectiveness in rigorous experimental studies, positive results are expected for teachers, students, their families, and the sustainability of the program.

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