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Ascend Action Plan: In his role as Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Acelero Learning, Henry Wilde oversees operations for the organization. Mr. Wilde is partnering with Ascend Fellows Dr. P. Lindsay Chase-Lansdale and Dr. Mario Small to promote social capital – which includes trusted networks and connections – among parents in Head Start centers. The team is organizing a pilot program at Acelero that tests the impact of intentionally created parental networks on child and family outcomes, and determines if leveraging these parental networks will support improved outcomes for their children in Head Start. The approach to the intervention is straightforward: at Acelero, a family advocate provides parents with resources, guidance, and instruction in parenting and child development. Parents are expected to pass these skills on to their child, whose test scores are used as a measurement of improvement. The pilot program is designed to create incentives for parents to share information and support and encourage each other. In this way, parental networks supplement the role of the family advocate. Results of the project will be released in 2014-2015.
Biography: Henry Wilde is the Co-Founder of Acelero Learning, a company explicitly dedicated to closing the achievement gap for young children served in the Head Start program. Founded in 2001, Acelero provides high quality early childhood education to 4,000 low income children and families and offers training and technical assistance to Head Start programs around the country. In the past three years, Acelero Learning has trained over 300 Head Start leaders, and its tools are utilized by 65 Head Start programs all over the country, reaching more than 20,000 children.
Wilde previously served as the Deputy Secretary for the Department of Children and Families for the State of Wisconsin. In this role, he oversaw massive reforms in the state’s child care subsidy program and led the state takeover of Milwaukee County’s child care operations, as well as the creation of the Milwaukee Early Care Administration. Wilde also coordinated the creation of YoungStar, Wisconsin’s child care Quality Rating and Improvement System, which has rolled out statewide.
He began his career working as a Special Assistant to Marian Wright Edelman at the Children's Defense Fund, after graduating from Harvard University, magna cum laude. Wilde earned his MBA from the Harvard Business School, where he focused on social entrepreneurship. Wilde is originally from Beloit, Wisconsin.