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From the Desk of Dr. Landry
As many of you already know, Texas recently experienced a lengthy legislative session where many tough decisions were made about the future of our state. This session included outcomes that greatly affect an education system in which the Children's Learning Institute (CLI) has been an active participant for many years.
As a result, we are faced with many changes that will challenge us in the work that we do. However, in spite of these challenges, we remain committed to two of our most enduring principles: research and collaboration.
Our research work at CLI has never been stronger. We have several new and exciting projects, including studies involving preschool English Language Learners as well as children and adolescents at-risk for severe reading difficulties. In addition, we have begun work on projects with topics such as the role technology plays in a child's cognitive development, parental impact on a child's early education, and school readiness interventions for family child care settings.
Furthermore, our continuing focus on collaboration was evident at the recent Texas Early Childhood Leadership Summit we co-hosted with the Texas Early Childhood Education Coalition (TECEC) and the Texas Education Agency (TEA) in Austin, Texas. At this event, more than 1,000 early childhood providers, administrators, teachers, trainers and parents took part in a weeklong discussion on pressing issues in education for young children from birth to age five. We also received important feedback from attendees on how schools can best sustain quality programs for our young children in light of these looming funding challenges.
Incorporating both research and collaboration, CLI currently coordinates a 19-member advisory council known as the Texas Early Learning Council. This council was established by Texas Governor Rick Perry with the objective of improving school readiness in Texas through targeted strategies stemming from four priority areas: parental outreach and communications, early childhood workforce and professional development, collaborations and standards, and data systems and quality rating and improvement systems.
With your continued support, we look forward to a bright future with the goal of being the preeminent source for proven clinical and educational programs covering early childhood through young adulthood at both the local and national level. Due to the abilities of our wonderful faculty and staff, I feel confident that our best work is yet to come.
In this issue of The Learning Leader, you will have the chance to read about a multi-state research project that Dr. Marcia Barnes and her team are conducting to study the development of mathematical knowledge in at-risk preschoolers, meet researcher Dr. Ursula Johnson, who recently returned to CLI, and learn how our Reach Out and Read Texas program is teaming with doctors across the state to encourage families to read.
We are grateful for your interest in the Children's Learning Institute. Enjoy the newsletter!
Susan H. Landry, Ph.D.
Director, Children's Learning Institute
Michael Matthew Knight Memorial Professor in Pediatrics
Albert & Margaret Alkek Chair in Early Childhood Development