Sengal joined MDRC in 2012 and has since been involved in large-scale demonstration projects in early childhood education across New York City and, more recently, across the nation. Her expertise is in site engagement and in finding ways to meet research needs in real-world settings. She was part of the management team for the Making Pre-K Count recruitment effort and also led recruitment for High 5s. In addition, she oversaw the implementation of teacher professional development for Making Pre-K Count. Sengal is now leading operations for the ExCEL Network project, which is evaluating summer program’s impact on summer learning loss and kindergarten readiness.
Sengal holds a BS in psychology from the University of Texas at Austin and an MS in psychology from New York University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Before joining MDRC, Sengal led qualitative and quantitative data collection for the National Science Foundation-funded Early Adolescent Cohort project at the Center for Research on Culture, Development and Education in New York University’s Steinhardt School.
MDRC PublicationsToolkitDecember, 2021
This interactive guide and the accompanying, full toolkit are designed for school-based and community-based programs interested in implementing evidence-based early childhood curricula. The guide provides practical guidelines and tools for four stages of implementation.Issue FocusMay, 2021
The pandemic has been especially hard on recent high school graduates. MDRC is partnering with several cities to connect 2020 and 2021 graduates to high-quality programs and coaching and counseling resources that can guide them to educational and workforce opportunities that match their interests.Issue Focus
The Case for Investing Pandemic Relief Funds in Pre-K and Kindergarten Summer ProgramsApril, 2021
In this commentary originally published by New America, Meghan McCormick and Amena Sengal argue that states and districts should allocate some pandemic relief dollars to strengthening summer learning for pre-k and kindergarten students.Brief
Opportunities for Investing in EquityMarch, 2021
This brief summarizes recent findings that show how a lack of access to high-quality summer programs may contribute to disparities in children’s learning and development during the transition to kindergarten. It identifies future research needed to ensure that equity-focused investments in summer learning pay off for children from underserved groups.Issue Focus
An Interview with Monisha GibsonJuly, 2020
Monisha Gibson, director and CEO of the Maritime Odyssey Preschool in Norwalk, Connecticut, discusses the program’s work with a vulnerable student and family population during the coronavirus pandemic. She describes how Odyssey adapted to continue its holistic approach: prenatal support, food distribution, connections to mental health services, and quality preschool.
JoAnn Hsueh, Amena Sengal, Caroline Schultz, Emily Hanno, Ilana Blum, Katie Beal, Mallory Undestad, Marta Benito-Gomez, Meghan McCormick, Samantha Wulfsohn, Sharon Huang, Ximena Portilla, Brenna Healy
- Determining the ...
The Measures for Early Success Initiative aims to reimagine the landscape of early learning assessments for three- to five-year-olds in pre-K so that more equitable data can be used to meaningfully support and strengthen early learning experiences for all young children.
Variations in Implementation of Quality Interventions (VIQI): Examining the Quality-Child Outcomes Relationship in Child Care and Early EducationJoAnn Hsueh, Michelle Maier, Frieda Molina, Samantha Wulfsohn, Marie-Andrée Somers, Electra Small, Sharon Huang, Amena Sengal, Alexandra Bernardi, Marissa Strassberger, Noemi Altman, Ilana Blum, Ebony Scott, Margaret Hennessy, Mervett Hefyan, Mallory Undestad, Sharon Rowser, Amy Taub
The Variations in Implementation of Quality Interventions (VIQI): Examining the Quality-Child Outcomes Relationship in Child Care and Early Education project is a large-scale, rigorous study with several important aims and implications for current child care and early education policy and practices, including:JoAnn Hsueh, Sharon Huang, Meghan McCormick, Michelle Maier, Rebecca Unterman, Desiree Principe Alderson, Barbara Condliffe, Amena Sengal, Sonia Drohojowska, Ilana Blum, Marissa Strassberger, Marie-Andrée Somers, Noemi Altman, Alexandra Bernardi, Mirjana Pralica, Mervett Hefyan, Jálynn Castleman-Smith, Mallory Undestad, Samantha Xia, Emily Davies, Sharon Rowser, Amy Taub
With broad support across the political spectrum, states and localities throughout the country are expanding preschool programs for low-income children. While the public will is strong and the experience to date is encouraging, there is a need for firmer evidence on the most cost-effective ways to produce lasting impacts for children, especially when programs operate...Shira Kolnik Mattera, Sharon Huang, Seth Muzzy, Samantha Wulfsohn, Marissa Strassberger, Amena Sengal, Mirjana Pralica
The High 5s project is part of the Robin Hood Early Childhood Research Initiative, a partnership between MDRC and the Robin Hood Foundation focused on improving the life trajectories of low-income children in New York City. The Initiative’s first project, Making Pre-K Count...Barbara S. Goldman, Sharon Huang, Shira Kolnik Mattera, Michelle Maier, Seth Muzzy, Electra Small, Samantha Wulfsohn, Marissa Strassberger, Amena Sengal, Mirjana Pralica, Samantha Xia, Cullen MacDowell
Making Pre-K Count is the result of a partnership between MDRC and the Robin Hood Foundation whose goal is to build evidence about ways to improve the life trajectories of children living in poverty in New York City. The partnership’s first project focuses on improving preschool children’s math skills.
Why math? Recent...