EDC to Lead RI Early Childhood Professional Development and Technical Assistance Center

Sheila Skiffington

The Rhode Island Department of Education and Rhode Island Department of Human Services have selected EDC to establish and lead a statewide Center for Early Learning Professionals. During a December 11 meeting of the state’s Early Learning Council, Rhode Island Commissioner of Education Deborah Gist announced that the state has awarded EDC $14 million to carry out an ambitious, two-year plan to build the capacity of the state’s early childhood programs and educators to ensure all young children’s school readiness and success. (Visit the Center for Early Learning Professionals website here.)

Former EDC Vice President Sheila Skiffington (shown at left) said, “EDC has a long history of collaborating with Rhode Island early childhood educators, leaders, and policy-makers to enhance the quality of education for the state’s youngest children.”

Through a cooperative agreement funded by Rhode Island’s Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Grant award, EDC will partner with Ready to Learn at The Providence Plan to provide high-quality and innovative training, technical assistance, and professional development to early childhood teachers and program leaders.

Karen Pucciarelli and Susan Washburn, Rhode Island residents who have supported early childhood quality improvement in the state for decades, will serve as Co-Directors of the Center. Washburn notes, “Rhode Island was one of the first states to receive an Early Learning Challenge grant due to its well-conceived plan to improve early childhood education." Pucciarelli adds, "The state’s investment in the Center responds to current research that shows that there is a huge potential to narrow achievement gaps early on by ensuring all children have high-quality early learning experiences.”

Last Updated: December 2013