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To educate Catholic school leaders about the various public resources that the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) provides to Catholic students and families, the Parents Alliance for Catholic Education (PACE) sponsored a February conference at the College of the Holy Cross that brought together over 70 Catholic school leaders from across the state.
In partnership with the EEC, PACE provided to participants an all-day opportunity to learn how their schools might become voucher and state contract eligible and, thereby, also become more accessible to low-income families.
The day included a keynote address by Marie St. Fleur, a state and national early education public policy leader. In her remarks, St. Fleur emphasized the importance of early education in forming children's capacity for the kind of learning that is essential for their academic and career success.
In a post-conference evaluation, one participant commented, "I appreciate the opportunity to have a wealth of information presented to us by the people in the state charged with running these [early education] programs." To capitalize on the widely expressed appreciation of conference participants, PACE will provide to them over the next weeks and months follow up support and technical assistance.
Steve Perla, interim executive director of PACE, lauded the Department of Early Education and Care for its strong support of a mixed delivery system, which is inclusive of Catholic schools and for their role in making the conference such an enormous success.