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Thursday, January 14, 2021

CFD’s Garrity Named to Head Start-Funded National Advisory Group

Dr. Sarah Garrity, associate professor and chair in the San Diego State University Department of Child and Family Development (CFD), has been named to a national advisory group focused on advancing equity in early childhood education programs.

Starting this month, Garrity will serve on the National Center on Early Childhood Development, Teaching and Learning’s Research to Equitable Practice Advisory Group. Funded by the Office of Head Start and the Office of Child Care, the center aims to implement culturally and linguistically responsive child development and teaching and learning practices.

“One of the things about Head Start is that it's always been focused on supporting families and supporting communities,” said Garrity, who served as a Head Start teacher and administrator prior to joining the SDSU faculty.

“I think what my research can bring to this group is to show that communities are different — and that's OK,” she added. “We need to figure out ways to make sure that children and families have equitable experiences that support their growth and development within their particular ecological niche.” 

Garrity’s research at SDSU has focused on equity in early care and education programs. She has studied Head Start teacher beliefs about bilingualism as well, and whether behavior guidance policies and programs support children who are linguistically and culturally diverse.

“What my colleague Sascha Longstreth (associate professor in CFD) and I have found is that they really don't,” she said. “A lot of the behavior guidance policies that we've looked at are really focused on kicking children out of school, beginning in early childhood, instead of supporting the unique qualities and characteristics that children bring with them.” 

Garrity said she is honored to serve on a group featuring people she considers “rock stars” in the field, including Yale University’s Dr. Walter Gilliam, who was the first to identify disproportionate rates of suspension and expulsion in the preschool years.

“I think it's just a great networking opportunity and opportunity to highlight the work that we're doing at CFD and our work with the Center for Excellence in Early Development (CEED) at a national level,” she said.