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Senator Kelli Ward Selected as Early Learning Fellow

Thirty-five state legislators and legislative staff from 26 states and Puerto Rico have been selected as Early Learning Fellows by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Now in its second year, the program exposes fellows to the latest research and state policy ideas during a yearlong series of webinars and meetings on how best to make sure young children get a positive start in life. Arizona State Senator Kelli Ward was selected as one of the 35 Fellows this year.

“The NCSL Early Learning Fellows Program provides opportunities to learn about cutting-edge research and best practices in early childhood education from experts in academia and public school districts,” said New Hampshire state Representative Mary Gile, last year’s fellow and chair of the House Education Committee. “Meetings and webinars offered stimulating, inspiring and affirming information from both theoretical and practical perspectives. I especially appreciated meeting and working with legislative colleagues from across the nation.”

The fellows were nominated by state leadership and selected based on their interest and commitment to a wide range of education, health, human services, state budget and other issues as they relate to early learning. In addition to exploring new research and policy ideas, lawmakers and staff will learn and strategize about federal initiatives, including the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting grants. This year’s efforts will build on the accomplishments made during last year’s inaugural program by giving fellows the latest informational tools on brain research, economic evaluation findings and evidence-based programs.

“There has been a great deal of research and interest in early learning in recent years, so the timing is ideal for NCSL to facilitate a program that brings the top stakeholders together for the benefit of our members,” said Bill Pound, executive director of NCSL.

The 2013-2014 Early Learning Fellows program kicked off May 1 and 2 during NCSL’s Spring Forum in Denver. A final meeting focusing on best practices and the latest science will be held Dec. 6 and 7 in Washington, D.C. Program expenses are covered by a grant from the Alliance for Early Success (formerly Birth to Five Policy Alliance). For more information, please visit

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