The Gateway Cities Journal
News and information for leaders who care about Gateway Cities


Closing the readiness gap


For over 40 years, the Parent-Child Home Program (PCHP) has been bridging the preparation gap for preschool-age children in families challenged by poverty, language and literacy barriers, and limited education. This national, evidence-based early literacy, school readiness program started working with Massachusetts families in the early 1970s in Pittsfield and Cambridge. In 2012-2013, PCHP worked with 900 diverse, low-income Massachusetts families.


What is unique about the Parent-Child Home Program is its ability to reach out to and engage families of diverse backgrounds. The Program's twice-weekly home visits are conducted by community-based early literacy specialists, who come from the communities they serve and share a common background with the families with whom they work. Over 40% of these local early literacy specialists are multilingual, and 25% are parents who themselves graduated from the Program with their children.


The frequent, regular home visits the Program provides are the most effective and strategic method for engaging with and providing sustained services for families who are isolated by poverty and other barriers and do not have access to center-based early childhood programs or other early literacy and parenting resources. Studies have shown that PCHP participants have higher graduation rates, lower rates of referral to special education programs, and better language and social-emotional skills heading into kindergarten and first grade.  


PCHP is now offered in 120 Massachusetts cities and town, including 14 of the 26 Gateway Cities. Demand is much higher than the funded slots in these Gateway Cities, and the Program is not yet able to reach families in many high-need Gateway cities, including Chelsea, Brockton, Haverhill and Barnstable. PCHP's FY15 budget request is to increase state funding so that children in all of the Gateway cities are served.


The Parent-Child Home Program can be replicated in cities and towns in Massachusetts where there are underperforming schools and a high incidence of poverty. If you are interested in starting a Parent-Child Home Program site in your community or would like additional information, please contact us.


-- Carol Rubin, Massachusetts Coordinator, PCHP


Check out our blog for more analysis on PCHP programs in the Gateway Cities.





In a story referencing the Gateway Cities Education Vision, the T&G's Jackie Reis highlights dual language programs at Worcester's Chandler Magnet School as a model practice for communities throughout the Commonwealth trying to enhance academic achievement and early language development.




In a new blog entry, Meg Aki notes weaknesses in the House budget from the perspective of the Gateway Cities Education Vision. But take note: Rep. Peisch, Rep. Cabral and many others address the Connecting Activities shortfall with a very worthy Amendment #487. Gateway City caucus members are also fighting for an increase in the dual-enrollment program with Amendment #1055 and the Parent Child Home Program with Amendment #758.


At an event with Gov. Patrick in Worcester, Siemens announces an unprecedented multi-million donation, providing software to train workers at technical high schools and community colleges across the state.


Quinsigamond Community College in Worcester brakes ground on the QuEST Center, a new science and engineering complex.


In Attleboro, vocational schools leave behind the 'trade-school' image and adopt a high-tech image that prepares students for careers.


City officials in Lynn are hopeful that 20-year-old letters back them up in their dispute with the state Department of Education over school spending levels, the Daily Item reports


Stand for Children's Jason Williams pens a guest opinion column in the Herald News in support of early education programs in Fall River.




Rep. Cory Atkins files an amendment to restore funding for the Massachusetts Cultural Council to $16 million. Rep. Chris Walsh offers an amendment that would add $45 million to the Brownfields Redevelopment Fund.


Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse proposes a meal tax at town restaurants and bars for the FY15 city budget. Morse says the tax would minimally impact customers' checks and has the potential to produce over $500,000 dollars in annual revenue for the city.


The Worcester City Council's economic development committee grants preliminary approval a new plan to redevelop the South Worcester Industrial Park.


The Massachusetts Department of Labor and Workforce Development announces $5.4 million dollars in Workforce Training Fund Grants. The  Gateway Cities of Attleboro, Fall River, Holyoke, Lawrence, Lowell, Methuen, New Bedford, Springfield, and Worcester all receive allocations.


Westfield Mayor Daniel Knapik comments on job cuts at two of the city's largest industrial employers.


A program in Pittsfield aims to rehabilitate blighted housing in otherwise viable neighborhoods using funds from the Attorney General's Abandoned Housing Initiative.


New Bedford receives $1.8 million in grants from the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Urban Development to combat homelessness.




The House and Senate approve a $12.7 billion transportation bond bill, which includes $2.3 billion in authorizations for South Coast Rail.


MassDOT awards funds to the Lowell Regional Transit Authority to facilitate the purchase of five paratransit vans for the city.


Taunton receives praise for the recent extensive renovations of pedestrian sidewalks downtown.


Public hearings will be held for the four upcoming bridge replacements for the South Coast Rail project.




New Bedford officials raise concern about a bill that could potentially jeopardize the security of the city's wind energy future.


The Brookings Institution Metro Program releases a new report looking at how cities and regions finance renewable energy development.


The Haverhill City Council holds off on a decision on $6.9 million in loans needed to make federally-mandated improvements to storm water and sewer pipes currently polluting the Merrimack River.


A report released by Environment Massachusetts lists New Bedford among the top 57 major cities powered by solar.




Four cities in Massachusetts are named All-American Cities Finalists, including the Gateway Cities of Fitchburg and Chelsea


Mayor Gary Christenson receives the Diversity & Inclusion Award for promoting diversity in the city of Malden.




Realizing the Potential of Gateway Cities, Cambridge, April 18th


Pioneer Valley Gateway Cities Education Forum, Chicopee, April 30th


The Sandbox Summit, Lowell, June 9th and 10th



For a full list of Massachusetts Gateway Cities, click here. The Gateway Cities Journal is a weekly news publication of MassINC. If you would like to unsubscribe to The Journal but would still like to hear from MassINC, please let us know. If you are not yet on our list and would like to sign up, click here. To contribute news or comments, please email MassINC.



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