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U of M awarded $15 million grant to implement one of the nation's most comprehensive childhood education programs

December 21, 2011

The University of Minnesota and partners have been awarded an Investing in Innovation or “i3” grant of $15 million over five years from the U.S. Department of Education. The project will implement the Child-Parent Center (CPC) education program, one of the nation’s most comprehensive early childhood interventions, at 33 sites in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois.

The CPC education program provides intensive and continuous educational and family-support services for pre-kindergarten to third-grade children in low-income families and high-poverty neighborhoods. Its goal is to promote school readiness, parent involvement and early school achievement that enhance longer-term effects on achievement, graduation and career success. Cost-benefit analyses indicate a return of $8 to 11 for each dollar invested in the program, among the highest returns of any social program.

“The University of Minnesota is pleased to have been awarded a grant to bolster a long-running and highly effective educational program which directly works to close the achievement gap within our schools and communities,” said project director Arthur Reynolds, a professor in the Institute of Child Development in the U of M’s College of Education and Human Development. “The Child-Parent Center education program is an exemplary model with strong evidence of large and sustained effects on school achievement and social competence. Because of this new grant, the project will expand for the first time into other school districts in the Midwest.”

An estimated 9,000 children ages 3 to 9 across the three states will be served. Partners in Minnesota include the St. Paul Public Schools, Arrowhead Head Start and Virginia Public Schools.

Beginning in fall 2012, St. Paul Public Schools will implement the intensive education enrichment and family-support intervention in six schools serving more than 1,000 students over the duration of the project. St. Paul has committed district Title I funds to support implementation.

“Professor Reynolds’ research has been a driver in our efforts to improve children’s school readiness and achievement for years,” said St. Paul Public Schools Superintendent Valeria Silva. “We’re honored to now be partnering directly with Arthur, the university and the project partners.”

The project was developed by the Human Capital Research Collaborative and its partners. HCRC is a partnership between the University of Minnesota and the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis to promote effective public policies and programs for young people through multidisciplinary research on human development and learning. Reynolds and Art Rolnick, senior fellow at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs and former vice president and research director at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, co-direct the HCRC.

Combined federal, private, and district funding for the project totals more than $20 million. Contributors in Minnesota include the Greater Twin Cities United Way, Target Corporation, McKnight Foundation and the Saint Paul Foundation. Others include Northwestern University, the Evanston Community Foundation, Foundation for Child Development, Foundation65, J. B. and M. K. Pritzker Family Foundation, Robert R. McCormick Foundation and the W. K. Kellogg Foundation.

The i3 innovations grant follows the recent news of two other federal grants received in Minnesota for early childhood education, the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Grant and the Promise Neighborhood Implementation Grant.

For more information, see the Human Capital Research Collaborative website, http://www.humancapitalrc.org.

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