Inside Erikson | August 2021 Newsletter

August, 2021 – Welcome to the August issue of the Inside Erikson newsletter!

The entire Erikson community is buzzing with anticipation as we prepare to welcome our new President Mariana Souto-Manning, Ph.D.!

Mariana officially starts her role on September 1, but in true Erikson style, she has already begun building relationships. Around 100 faculty and staff attended a virtual Town Hall with Mariana on July 28 and learned more about our dynamic new leader.

Mariana shared her hopes, ideas, and questions—just the start of a dialogue that will continue when she arrives on campus. There will be many opportunities in the coming months for our new leader to get to know the Erikson community. You can learn more at about Mariana on our website.

Among the “fun facts” Mariana shared about herself are that she loves to swim, take long walks, listen to music (Stevie Wonder and Earth, Wind and Fire are two favs!), and she’s a “foodie.”

Keep reading for our latest updates, announcements, events, and other news, and thank you for being a committed member of the Erikson community.

Erikson Updates

Update on Erikson In-person Activities

Erikson continues to monitor the evolving situation with the delta variant of COVID-19, and we are continuing with our plan to be on-campus for the Fall semester but to remain careful and ready to change course if necessary. Our highest priority remains the safety of the entire Erikson community. To that end, we are returning to one of our previous protocols — effective immediately, all persons on the Erikson campus must wear a mask in public areas (lobby, elevators, hallways, bathrooms, kitchens, classrooms, and any other common areas). As always, we encourage all individuals to get vaccinated! If you have any questions, please contact David Wilson.

Sign on for Racial Justice in Early Mathematics 

In 2020, our Early Math Collaborative helped establish the Racial Justice in Early Mathematics Working Group, an 18-member consortium of academics, educators, and advocates that is committed to denouncing the pervasive and devastating effects of white supremacy and anti-Blackness on learning and the lives of young students. The Working Group has created a call to action and is seeking to collect 1,000 signatures by October. Learn more here, and please consider signing. Questions? Reach out to Jennifer McCray, Ph.D.  


Explore Data in the Illinois Risk and Reach Report 2021 
Illinois’ second Risk and Reach Report visualizes county-by-county data through maps to help Illinoisans better understand the well-being of children birth to 5 in their communities in relationship to the reach of the state’s early childhood resources. You can download the Risk and Reach Report here. In using the data, it is essential that we understand it in context, and not take specific findings at face value. For example, here is a data point from the report, focused on Developmental Screening: In fiscal year 2019, there were 109,149 children who received screenings in Illinois, compared to 96,344 in FY2018. This data point seems encouraging and could mean that more children are getting screened. However, the report explains that the data point is based on voluntary reporting and may be attributed to better reporting. Further exploration at the community level is needed to uncover the actual incidence of developmental screenings in a particular county.

Governor Signs Telehealth Bill 
Last week, Governor Pritzker signed into law House Bill 3308 making access to telehealth, including for early intervention services, permanent. This change to the law will allow families to continue to access telehealth services that they may have been using throughout the pandemic if that is more convenient. The law goes further by making the reimbursement rates for telehealth services equal to those of in-person services. Erikson is happy to see this new development which will benefit families by giving them more options to receive services.

Erikson Classrooms and Conference Rooms Get AV Upgrade
In an ongoing effort to provide the best possible user experience, IT is directing a comprehensive overhaul of AV equipment and systems in Erikson classrooms and conference rooms. Our goal is to have all upgrades done in all rooms by August 30 when on-campus classes begin for Fall semester.

Faculty and Staff Achievements

Samina Hadi-Tabassum, Ed.D., has been chosen as a Collyer Fellow of the Chicago Literary Club. The Fellowship covers three years during which each Fellow participates in Club events and presents a paper to the Club during the 2021-2022 season. Samina also published an academic article: “A Book Review of Language, Mind and Power: Why We Need Linguistic Equality” by Daniel R. Boisvert & Ralf Thiede in Teachers College Record.  

Cassandra McKay-Jackson, Ph.D., co-authored two book chapters in M. Kelly, C.R. Massat, & R. Constable (2021) School Social Work: Practice, Policy, and Research, 9th edition, Oxford University Press. The chapters are: A history of the education of African American Children, and  Policy and law affecting school social work and marginalized populations.


August 2021 Events

Project Connect—for Illinois Educators 
Project Connect, an initiative of Erikson’s Early Teaching and Learning Academy, is reaching out to kindergarten teachers across the state to get involved in a new professional development partnership between Erikson and the Illinois State Board of Education. Project Connect supports the state’s initiative on kindergarten readiness, including the mandated Kindergarten Individual Development Survey (KIDS) assessment. Project Connect aims to improve teachers’ ability to observe, document, and interpret children’s behavior and thinking, a vital skill to better and more equitably meet the diverse needs of children in Illinois. Learn more here.

Erikson in the News


Our partnership with Neighborhood Parents Network is getting Erikson experts in front of a whole new audience. In July, a blog by Senior Instructor Jennifer Rosinia, Ph.D., was featured, on the topic of creating strong partnerships with teachers when a child has a developmental difference.

While she didn’t appear on camera, Research Scientist Juliet Bromer, Ph.D., provided background information for a special 5-part PBS Newshour series, “Raising the Future: America’s Child Care Dilemma” that ran last month.

The Lawndale News, a major outlet for Chicago’s Latinx community, published an item about our new President, Mariana Souto-Manning, Ph.D. You can read it here.

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About Erikson

Erikson Institute Entry

Graduate Education

Recognized for our groundbreaking work in the field of early childhood, Erikson specializes in preparing child development, education, and social work leaders to improve the lives of young children, families, and their communities. Click here for more information on our degree and certificate programs, or email our admissions team.

Clinical and Community Services

As we adapt to these unexpected and challenging times due to COVID-19, Erikson’s Center for Children and Families is offering virtual mental health services to parents, caregivers, and children, as well as crisis counseling and consultation to support first responders and early childcare providers and teachers. Services can be provided in both English and Spanish, and are available to families regardless of their ability to pay.

We have also re-opened our River North clinic for services that require in-person assessments, including Early Intervention Medical and Neurodevelopmental Diagnostic Evaluations.

Our Fussy Baby Network, which helps families struggling with their infants’ crying, sleeping, or feeding, has also pivoted to provide more of its services, like home visits, in a virtual environment.

Policy and Leadership

Erikson’s Policy and Leadership department engages leaders in government, business, and nonprofit sectors to inform effective policies that benefit children and families. They offer unique programming that equips decision-makers and influencers with the resources, skills, and deep knowledge about early childhood development that will support their efforts to make lasting change. Learn more about our Policy and Leadership.

Give to Erikson

The first 1,100 days of life set the stage for a child’s long-term physical and emotional health, socioeconomic trajectory, life expectancy, happiness, and well-being. Can we count on you to make a gift to strengthen our ability to serve children and families, as well as our students, faculty, and staff, during this time? Your support for Erikson prepares the heroes in young children’s lives—teachers, social workers, civic leaders, parents and caregivers—to get them safely through this crisis so they can soar into promising futures. Please donate here.

More Ways To Connect

Learn more about Erikson’s Early Math Collaborative and TEC Center.