Professor Christina Weiland was awarded a grant by the Heising-Simons Foundation titled “High-quality math instruction across prekindergarten auspice."
In April 2019, Mayor Marty Walsh announced a historic expansion of universal prekindergarten (UPK) in Boston, primarily in community-based preschool settings. In Fall 2019, the City added 480 new preschool seats, with another 500 seats planned over the following several years. UPK sites are receiving training, coaching, and additional funding to deliver high-quality instruction to enrolled four year olds, following Boston Public School’s proven prekindergarten program.
The Heising-Simons Foundation has awarded the University of Michigan, in partnership with the Boston Public Schools (BPS) Department of Early Childhood and with researchers at the Harvard Graduate Marsal Family School of Education and MDRC, funding to conduct an implementation study of this historic expansion. The research team will examine the key center, classroom, and teacher-level factors that drive strong math instructional quality and child learning in UPK classrooms, as well as any additional supports necessary to support teachers and students.
Study findings will contribute to research on how to build strong public prekindergarten programs across public schools and community-based preschool programs. Beyond Boston, almost all public prekindergarten systems nationally are based in both public schools and community-based preschool programs. But there is almost no research to guide policy and practice to ensure such mixed systems are strong and equitable.
At the University of Michigan, Dr. Christina Weiland serves as principal investigator and study co-director. SOE PhD candidate Paola Guerrero Rosada will work closely with Dr. Weiland on the project. At the Boston Public Schools, Dr. Jason Sachs serves as a principal investigator. Other key team members include Dr. Catherine Snow (principal investigator at the Harvard Graduate Marsal Family School of Education and study co-director), and Drs. Meghan McCormick and Michelle Maier (both at MDRC).