Rep. Shallcross Smith named Early Childhood Fellow by National Conference of State Legislatures


STATE HOUSE — The National Conference of State Legislatures has named Rep. Mary Ann Shallcross Smith (D-Dist. 46, Lincoln, Pawtucket) a fellow in its Early Childhood Program.

The endeavor is designed to support legislators and legislative staff who are experienced or emerging leaders on early childhood and early learning issues. The program is geared toward those chairing or serving on human services, education or appropriation committees who want to expand their knowledge and learn from other legislators and experts across the country. 

“I am honored to be chosen for this fellowship,” said Representative Shallcross Smith, who was nominated for the fellowship by Speaker of the House K. Joseph Shekarchi (D-Dist. 23, Warwick). “I am grateful to Speaker Shekarchi for nominating me and I look forward to being part of a peer-learning community with other legislators and to engage with research and policy experts who are leaders in the field, so I can bring that knowledge back to Rhode Island as we continue to improve early childhood development for all Rhode Islanders.”

States have been leading efforts to improve the quality of child care, implementing preschool and innovative ways to support families with young children across the age spectrum from birth to kindergarten and into the early grades. They are also addressing challenges with governance, financing, data systems and teacher training/professional development.

The Rhode Island General Assembly and other state legislatures have been addressing program and policy issues such as providing high-quality child care and prekindergarten, financing strategies, teacher professional development, family support issues like home visiting, and early childhood governance challenges in their states.

The owner of Dr. Day Care Inc., Representative Shallcross Smith received an associate’s degree in early childhood education and human services in 1982. She received a bachelor’s degree in human services from the University of Rhode Island in 1985, master’s degree in counseling from Rhode Island College in 1989, and a doctorate in youth studies/leadership from Nova Southeastern University in Florida in 1995.

The fellowship will include online learning platforms in June, July and August, covering such topics as family and child well-being, environment and early childhood, and local and state systems.



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