The Hunt Institute Facilitates Visit to Educare New Orleans for Policymakers, Hunt-Kean Fellows

New Orleans, La. – Educare Schools have become a national model for serving young children and families, and a group of key policymakers and state leaders will visit Educare New Orleans this morning, June 24, as part of The Hunt Institute’s focus on early childhood policy.

Established seven years ago as a central part of the community redevelopment effort after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, Educare New Orleans serves nearly 170 infants, toddlers, and preschoolers and their families with year-round services 10 hours a day, five days a week.

Educare New Orleans is one of 24 Educare schools across the country serving low-income children and families. In a 2017 study, results showed that children enrolled in Educare for year, at approximately two years old, had significantly higher English language skills, fewer parent reports of problem behaviors, and more positive parent-child interactions than children who did not attend Educare.

“We’re thrilled to bring this group to Educare New Orleans to see firsthand how a school provides high-quality care for our youngest children, while emphasizing and providing the support for strong family engagement,” said Dr. Javaid Siddiqi, president & CEO of The Hunt Institute. “We hope this visit inspires these leaders to consider how child care can be improved in their own states and communities.”

Guests visiting the New Orleans school include legislators and representatives from governors’ offices from Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina and Virginia, as well as Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows from Alaska, California, Illinois, and Iowa. Participants will tour classrooms to understand how the school is using master teachers, data and embedded professional development to create a high-quality child care and learning experience.

“States’ investments in early childhood have far-reaching effects, and the Educare Schools are evidence of that,” said Minnesota Senator Jeff Hayden, a 2018 Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellow. “I’m very much looking forward to spending time with the school’s staff, teachers and parents to learn more about this program and how their school stands apart from others.”

During the visit, guests will also participate in two panels – one focused on parent involvement and the additional supports parents receive and a second detailing how Educare New Orleans identifies public and private funding sources to strategically cover the cost of services made available to children and families.

“Through the Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows program, Governor Reynolds and Lt. Governor Gregg have appreciated the broad range of education policy ideas shared to increase opportunities for students across the nation,” said Linda Fandel, special assistant for education in the Reynolds-Gregg Administration. “I look forward to visiting Educare New Orleans to see how this innovative model might impact the early childhood work underway in Iowa.”

“Educare New Orleans is a special place because of our students, families and our educators,” saidSchool DirectorAngelique Shorty-Belisle. “We are excited to introduce the core components of our program, and the research behind it, to our guests and hope they see how high-quality child care is transformative for the child, family, and community.”

On Sunday evening, prior to the Educare visit, Dr. Rhea Williams Bishop, director of Mississippi and New Orleans program of the WK Kellogg Foundation joined the conversation. She discussed how New Orleans is working to improve outcomes and how they are supporting access to quality child care and pre-K through public and private initiatives.