Click for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Forecast



$800,000 Grant to GSE: KIDS Project

The Graduate School of Education has been awarded $800,000 from the William Penn Foundation for a two-year research and service project, designed to improve the lives of young children in the city.

Partnering with GSE on this project are the Center for Mental Health Policy and Services Research at the University's medical center and the Cartographic Modeling Laboratory, which is a joint venture of the School of Social Work and the Graduate School of Fine Arts.

Researchers at Penn GSE will collaborate with city government and the school district to create the Kids' Integrated Database System, the country's first integrated municipal database for children. KIDS will streamline and merge separate databases maintained by the public schools and by the city's human services and public health departments. Data on the educational needs, health and welfare of more than 250,000 Philadelphia children will be shared across agencies for the first time.

Using the KIDS database, researchers will be able to examine high-priority issues in early childhood development in Philadelphia: school readiness, foster care and school success and the effectiveness of special education and behavioral health service systems.

This database can "produce findings with clear policy and practice implications," said Dr. John Fantuzzo, project director and a Penn GSE professor. KIDS represents one of the most practical yet underutilized opportunities for informing policymakers of what works for whom and at what cost."

At the neighborhood level, the KIDS project will feature the establishment of a Learning Links Laboratory, centered at the Penn Alexander School in West Philadelphia. Building on the University's Head Start initiatives, this lab will be directed by Stephanie Childs, an early childhood educator with the School District of Philadelphia.

Learning Links will feature early childhood mentoring, conducted by Penn student volunteers; electronic bridges between the Penn Alexander and Lea Elementary schools created in collaboration with SEAS; and transition activities for children moving from early childhood centers to the elementary schools.


  Almanac, Vol. 49, No. 19, January 28, 2003