Officials celebrate literacy center opening
Partnership and vision celebrated at Gordon Literacy Center grand opening
Officials recently celebrated the opening of the Gordon Early Literacy Center in Coatesville.
COATESVILLE >> Officials last week celebrated the opening of the Gordon Early Literacy Center that gives students a “chance to succeed through early education and to get a head start.”
The Gordon Early Literacy Center is a preschool center for Coatesville area children ages 3 to 5 that encompasses 18 new preschool classrooms. The center’s 320 students have access to “high quality” preschool education, instructional technology and related services and supports to promote school readiness, school officials said.
State Rep. Harry Lewis Jr., R-74, of Caln, a Coatesville Area High School graduate and a 40-year educator in the Coatesville Area School District, spoke at the dedication ceremony on Sept. 21.
“It’s the only one of its kind (in the state),” said Lewis, who is running for re-election this November against Downingtown Mayor Josh Maxwell, a Democrat. “Coatesville has a proud tradition, and it’s time to revisit that tradition. I’m proud of the partnership that made this happen. I want this to make the commonwealth and the county proud of Coatesville’s achievement.”
The center at 351 Kersey Street has a history of serving in educational purposes.
“This building has been involved in so many levels of educa-
tion. It was an elementary school, a junior high school, an alternative school, a college campus,” Lewis said. “I remember when this site was for driver’s education and the state police driver’s tests. It’s had good days and bad days, and look at how we have revived it today.”
The center is a partnership between the Chester County Intermediate Unit (CCIU), the Coatesville Area School District and the United Way of Chester County. The school’s 18 classrooms include nine “Head Start” classrooms, four preschool special education classrooms, four Coatesville Area School District classrooms and United Way’s Uniting Neighbors Impacting Families and Youth classroom. It’s free to students. The Gordon Early Literacy Center is a public and private partnership that receives federal and state grants to fund and operate Head Start and Preschool Special Education services, according to the CCIU. The school district and CCIU are contributing additional funds to operate classrooms for children that are not covered through the available grants. The governing bodies that oversee the preschool services are supportive of this blended funding model.
“The Gordon Early Literacy Center is proof of the good work that we can accomplish through public and private partnerships,” said Joseph O’Brien, executive director of the CCIU. “This project has united neighbors and community organizations together to have a positive impact on the children and families in our Coatesville community. This unity is evident in the many distinguished guests and illustrious speakers who are here today.”
Two resounding themes by the additional speakers involved the unique partnership between the CCIU, the school district and the United Way that brought this idea to fruition and the importance that quality childhood education brings to future success in school and in life.
Coatesville Area School District Superintendent Cathy Taschner called early literacy the foundation of a student’s future success. She said the Coatesville area school board’s “commitment was unwavering.” The addition of the preschool classrooms is part of the district’s “Literacy Equity Initiative.”
“The Gordon Early Literacy Center is proof what can happen when we work together,” Taschner said.
The September opening of the Gordon Early Literacy Center coincided with the Ready to Read program for kindergartners, which is fundamental to the school district’s “on-grade by third grade” reading efforts.
CCIU board President Bonnie J. Wolff echoed that it “takes an entire community to work together in order for children to get the education they deserve.” She called it a “true partnership of public and private entities.”
State Sen. Andrew Dinniman, D-19, of West Whiteland, said the ceremony celebrated “every child having a chance to succeed through early education” and “to get a head start.” Dinniman is running for re-election this year against Avondale Republican Jack London.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony last Wednesday officially celebrated the literacy center that opened in September. Tours of the building followed.
The Gordon Early Literacy Center celebrates its grand opening in Coatesville with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Sept. 21.
Victoria Miller, left, is one of the new Coatesville Area School District preschool teachers. She participates in the Gordon Early Literacy Center grand opening celebration on Sept. 21, along with a Head Start student. Head Start students performed the ABC song at the Gordon Early Literacy Center grand opening ceremony.