For Immediate Release - February 07, 2017

Massachusetts Releases Progress Report on First Year of Preschool Expansion Initiative

Program Shows Positive Results for Children in Boston, Holyoke, Lawrence, Lowell and Springfield

BOSTON – Today the Baker-Polito Administration released a report of findings from the first year of implementing the Preschool Expansion Grant program, which is a multi-year initiative to provide free preschool to four-year-old children in five communities across the state: Boston, Holyoke, Lawrence, Lowell and Springfield.  An evaluation of the program shows that the Preschool Expansion Grant provided high-quality learning environments in all five communities and the participating children showed positive developmental results after the first year.

Through funding awarded to Massachusetts from the U.S. Department of Education, 48 new preschool classrooms were opened in fall 2015 that enroll approximately 850 children in the participating communities during each year of the Preschool Expansion Grant program.  The report of findings is from the first cohort of students who attended preschool in the 2015-2016 school year. 

“The Preschool Expansion Grant program is developing important partnerships between participating school districts and community-based early education and care programs,” said Governor Charlie Baker.  “The five participating cities are making significant progress toward supporting our goal of helping all children achieve math and reading proficiency by third grade.” 

“The first year implementation of the Preschool Expansion Grant is very promising,” said Secretary of Education Jim Peyser. “The collaborations between school districts and licensed early education programs are helping to increase local capacity to build sustainable early education systems that will benefit children over the long-term.” 

The Preschool Expansion Grant supports communities in developing partnerships between their public school district and community-based early education and care programs that will serve as models for expanding preschool to all four-year-olds from low-income families in that state.  The funding also supports quality improvements in outreach and coordination of comprehensive services, assuring that young children's development is supported and advanced in their home environments as well as in preschool settings.  The Department of Early Education and Care contracted with Abt Associates to conduct a longitudinal evaluation of the Preschool Expansion Grant program in Massachusetts. 

“The Preschool Expansion Grant program is an innovative preschool model that is showing high levels of quality overall, and positive benefits for children, most of whom had no prior early education experience.  At the end of the first year the children demonstrated math and literacy skills that fall in the expected range for children entering kindergarten, and equally important both our teachers and parents reported strong satisfaction with the program," said Early Education and Care Commissioner Tom Weber.  "These promising results after just one year are a testament to the commitment and collaborative efforts of all the licensed early education programs and school districts who are participating in this important initiative.” 

The first year of the Preschool Expansion Grant program has shown that collaborations between public school districts and licensed early education providers can be effective at designing and implementing high-quality prekindergarten programs in a relatively short period of time.  Major findings from the evaluation included:

  • At the end of their year in the Preschool Expansion Grant program, the children demonstrated age-appropriate skills in math, letter-word recognition, self-regulation and the ability to develop positive relationships;
  • Teachers were well compensated, well-educated and generally satisfied with their positions;
  • The classroom observations conducted six months after opening found moderate to high levels of quality across three different measures of important dimensions of classroom quality; and
  • The majority of families surveyed reported feeling well informed and connected to the program and confident in their ability to communicate with their child's teacher.

Based on the results of the evaluation, the Preschool Expansion Grant program is providing additional focus on several areas in order to achieve higher levels of quality, including: alignment of professional development supports for educators, collaboration for inclusive programming, more consistent provision of comprehensive services to children and families, and capacity-building at all levels. 

The Preschool Expansion Grant program is funded for three years, and Massachusetts is eligible to receive a fourth year of funding for the 2018-2019 school year, subject to budget appropriation.

The 48 Preschool Expansion Grant program site locations are listed below.


Boston (15 Classrooms)


Roxbury YMCA

285 Martin Luther King Boulevard


East Boston YMCA

215 Bremen Street


Walnut Grove Head Start (ABCD)

22 Elm Hill Ave

Boston, MA 02121



38 Horadan Way (Ruggles)

Roxbury, MA 02120


Nurtury Learning Lab (Bromley-Heath)

33 Bickford Street

Jamaica Plain, MA 02130



436 Tremont Street (Castle Square)

Boston MA


Wesley Education Center

29 Stanton St.

Dorchester, MA 02124


Ellis Memorial Early Education Center

58 Berkeley St.

Boston, MA


Boys and Girls Club of Dorchester

1135 Dorchester Avenue


Paige Academy, Inc.

40 Highland Avenue

Roxbury, MA


Catholic Charities (Nazareth Child Care Center)

19 St. Joseph St.

Jamaica Plain, AM


Catholic Charities (Yawkey Konbit-Kreyol Center)

185 Columbia St.

Dorchester, MA


Holyoke (4 Classrooms)


Kelly Full Service School (Holyoke Chicopee Springfield Head Start)

216 West Street


Lawrence Full Service Community School (Holyoke Chicopee Springfield Head Start)

156 Cabot Street


Sullivan School (Valley Opportunity Council)

400 Jarvis Avenue


Morgan Full Service Community School (Valley Opportunity Council)

596 South Bridge Street


Lawrence (10 Classrooms)


Lawrence Early Achievement Partnership at Head Start (GLCAC Inc., Head Start)

96 East Haverhill Street


Lawrence Early Achievement Partnership at The Community Group (The Community Group)

404 Haverhill Street


Lowell (8 Classrooms)


Lowell Collaborative Preschool Academy (Community Teamwork/CTI and Little Sprouts)

554 Pawtucket Street


Springfield (11 Classrooms)


Square One, Holyoke Chicopee Springfield Head Start, YMCA of Greater Springfield

15 Catherine Street


Family Square @ Square One

1095 Main Street


Learning Center @ YMCA of Greater Springfield

275 Chestnut Street


Holyoke Chicopee Springfield Head Start @ Mason Square

33 Wilbraham Road


The Department of Early Education and Care’s Report of Findings from Year One of the Preschool Expansion Grant, and the Evaluation Report of the Preschool Expansion Grant program by Abt Associates, are posted on the Department of Early Education and Care website.