Congratulations to the University of Massachusetts Boston for receiving a $12.4 million StrongStart Training and Technical Assistance Grant from the state.

The funding from the Department of Early Education and Care will support a wholesale overhaul of the training programs for the 70,000 early educators who work in 9,000 early education and care programs across the state.

The work will be led by the Institute for Early Education Leadership and Innovation (the Leadership Institute), which is housed in UMass Boston’s College of Education and Human Development.

“We’re incredibly excited to partner with EEC to support the state’s early education and out-of-school time workforce. The new StrongStart system places Massachusetts at the cutting edge of innovation in the design and delivery of professional development for providers, educators, and leaders in the field,” Anne Douglass, the Leadership Institute’s founder and executive director, said in a UMass press release.



To meet the “high demand for professional development training and for ongoing support for leaders and leadership development,” UMass Boston’s Leadership Institute will “oversee the design and implementation of training and technical assistance services through five StrongStart Professional Development Centers (PDCs) located across Massachusetts.”

The PDC’s will also “offer a statewide leadership coaching program to support leaders as they create cultures of continuous learning and improvement in their organizations and establish professional development opportunities in the workplace that strengthen teaching quality and children’s learning.”

There’s more information on the Massachusetts StrongStart Professional Development System website, which includes a Frequently Asked Questions page.

This professional development work will be a team effort that draws on the expertise of leaders and educators from Head Start, child care centers, and family child care programs as well as from an institutional coalition that includes UMass’ Donahue Institute as well as Holyoke Community College, The Community Group, Child Development and Education, Inc., the Ounce of Prevention Fund, the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, and the Pyramid Model Consortium.

“UMass Boston is very proud to host the StrongStart Partnership,” UMass Boston’s Interim Chancellor Katherine Newman says in the press release. “It expresses so well the ambitions of this campus to lead the Commonwealth in vital areas of educational practice… We are excited to see the next chapter of early childhood education unfold here.”

And Joseph Berger, dean of the education college, adds, “We in the College of Education and Human Development are thrilled with this opportunity to generate significant positive educational impacts throughout the state while serving as a national model for others to learn from and emulate.”