IDEALS in the Community

At the IDEALS Institute, we ask the right questions and conduct the research that improves the lifelong quality of care and education for everyone—from children to adults. Our dedication to IDEALS’ mission is highlighted on our websites and social media as well as in national publications.

IDEALS Community of Practice (CoP)

The IDEALS Community of Practice convenes every month with state early care and education leaders to engage in conversations to inform best practices for our nation’s children and families and the programs that serve them. CoP members confront issues head-on and look to their colleagues for lessons learned that will provide solutions for their states. Discussions centering on timely topics of shared interest create opportunities for state leaders to connect and continue conversations after the meetings.

Our shared conversations rotate each month between three areas of interest that include:

  • Workforce Registry Systems
  • Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS)
  • Marketing & Outreach of state programs

Previous CoP call recordings:


2021 Blackboard Catalyst Award WinnerIDEALS Institute Workforce Development Team
Wins Blackboard Catalyst Award – Friday, June 25, 2021

Staff from IDEALS Institute, Johns Hopkins School of Education have been named winners of the Blackboard Catalyst Award for Student Success, which honors individuals and/or institutions whose creative program application has led to increased retention, increased completion, and/or improved outcomes.

Read more: Blackboard Announces Winners of 2021 Catalyst Awards

President Joe Biden speaks to a joint session of Congress in the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol in Washington.Chris Swanson, executive director of the IDEALS Institute, was quoted in a recent AP article – Friday, April 30, 2021

Chris Swanson, executive director of the Johns Hopkins School of Education’s IDEALS Institute, was quoted in a recent AP article, saying how President Joe Biden’s families plan “would help reduce crime while improving education, health and earnings…over the long run, the money would help reduce crime while improving education, health and earnings.”

Read more: AP: Key piece of Biden’s $1.8T families plan expires after 2025

IDEALS Institute and other Hopkins affiliates volunteer as part of MLK Day of Service – Friday, January 24, 2020

Roughly 600 members of the Johns Hopkins community volunteered painting classrooms, delivering food to those in need, and cleaning public parks as part of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service on Friday. See more IDEALS MLK Day of Service images.

Read more: HUB JHU

Meet the Entrepreneur: Chris Swanson of the IDEALS Institute Offers Advice to Social Entrepreneurs

Chris Swanson is a social entrepreneur and director of the Institute for Innovation in Development, Engagement and Learning Systems (IDEALS) in the Johns Hopkins University School of Education, as well as creator of the international teaching and global learning master’s cohort program.

Read more:

Maryland Daily Record

  • Congrats to IDEALS Institute’s Andrea Parrish – a winner of The Daily Record’s 2019 Leading Women!

    Winners were selected based on their professional experience, community involvement and a commitment to inspiring change. Dr. Andrea Parrish, the Director of Development and Learning Systems and an Assistant Research Scientist at the IDEALS Institute, stood out from the rest and will be celebrated as one of the 2019 honorees at the awards event Monday, Dec. 2 and in the Tuesday, Dec. 3 print and digital magazine and at Congratulations!

    2019 Winners:

Maryland EXCELS Family Fun Day at Camden Yards – Saturday, September 14, 2019

As a wrap up to Maryland EXCELS’ year of birthday celebrations, Family Fun Day was held on September 14, 2019 for providers, their children, and families enrolled in their programs. Attendees enjoyed the Kids Zone play area, face painting, a moon bounce, Skee-Ball, a photo booth, caricature drawings, entertaining and educational activities from Lakeshore and Kaplan, photos with the Oriole Bird, and running the bases. View the event photo gallery.



The 37th annual Very Special Arts Festival (VSAF) – Thursday, May 9, 2019

The festival draws over 3,000 children, from birth-21, mostly from Baltimore County, but also surrounding areas. There are make and take craft exhibits, performance arts led by kids and professionals, natural arts (petting zoo), motor arts, and the exhibits IDEALS sponsors – edible art, lawn art, and digi-arts. 

Maryland EXCELS concludes its yearlong 5th birthday celebration in Baltimore County with more than 400 guests – Thursday, June 11, 2019

Maryland EXCELS, the child care and early education Quality Rating Improvement System run by the Maryland State Department of Education and IDEALS Institute at the Johns Hopkins School of Education, concluded its 5th birthday celebration on June 11, 2019 in Baltimore County. With nearly 400 guests attended, the Maryland EXCELS Team recognized the accomplishments and commitment of participating providers. The yearlong celebration included seven regional events, which drew more than 1,000 guests altogether.

Maryland EXCELS participating programs place particular emphasis on achieving high standards and implementing practices that support children’s development and learning. Learn more about the Very Special Arts Festival at

If you would like to learn more about our work in community engagement, contact us at [email protected].