Caro­line, Queen Anne’s re­ceive preschool fund­ing

Times-Record - - News - By SARAH DRURY sdrury@ches­pub.com

DEN­TON — Caro­line and Queen Anne’s coun­ties are among 19 school dis­tricts in the State of Mary­land that were awarded fed­eral fund­ing to ex­pand their high-qual­ity preschool pro­grams.

Mary­land was awarded $15 mil­lion in to­tal through the Preschool De­vel­op­ment Grants Pro­gram. The award was an­nounced by U.S. Sen­a­tors Ben Cardin, D-Md. and Bar­bara Mikul­ski, D-Md., to­gether with U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Steny Hoyer D-Md.-5th, Chris Van Hollen D-Md.-8th, Dutch Rup­pers­berger, DMd.-2nd, John Sar­banes, DMd.-3rd, Donna Edwards, D-Md.-4th and John De­laney, D-Md.-6th.

In the past three years, Mary­land has been awarded more than $45 mil­lion in fed­eral funds to ex­pand proven-ben­e­fi­cial preschool pro­grams through­out the state.

Through these Preschool De­vel­op­ment Grant awards, more than 35,000 ad­di­tional chil­dren across 18 states will be served in preschool pro­grams that meet high-qual­ity stan­dards in the third year of the pro­gram, an in­crease from 28,000 in the first award year in 2014.

“For our econ­omy to suc­ceed, we need to in­vest in ed­u­ca­tion from day one,” Van Hollen said. “Mary­land’s work­force is se­cond to none, be­cause we are com­mit­ted to mak­ing sure our chil­dren have the best schools — from preschool through col­lege and job train­ing. Fed­eral grants like this are key to this ef­fort, as we fight ev­ery day to make sure our state has a strong ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem and a strong econ­omy.”

Mary­land school dis­tricts re­ceiv­ing grant fund­ing in­clude: Al­le­gany County Public Schools, Anne Arun­del County Public Schools, Bal­ti­more City Public Schools, Bal­ti­more County Public Schools and more.

Queen Anne’s County Kid­die Academy of Kent Is­land is re­ceiv­ing $73,440, the Judy Cen­ters at Caro­line County Public Schools are be­ing awarded $330,000 and the Caro­line County Board of Ed­u­ca­tion is be­ing awarded $550,800.

In 2014, the United States Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion is­sued a Preschool De­vel­op­ment Grant com­pe­ti­tion to help states de­velop or en­hance their ca­pac­ity to de­liver high-qual­ity preschool pro­grams for the most vul­ner­a­ble fam­i­lies and their chil­dren.

Preschool De­vel­op­ment Grants for ex­pan­sion en­able states that al­ready have ro­bust state preschool pro­grams or that had been awarded a Race to the Top — Early Learn­ing Chal­lenge grant. The Mary­land State Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion, Divi­sion of Early Child­hood De­vel­op­ment ap­plied for the ex­pan­sion grant and in De­cem­ber of 2014 was awarded $15 mil­lion per year for a four year pe­riod to ex­pand high-qual­ity preschools.

All pre-K pro­grams are par­tic­i­pat­ing in Mary­land Ex­cels, the State’s Qual­ity Rat­ing and Im­prove­ment Sys­tem, and are ex­pected to achieve the high­est level of qual­ity. The pro­grams are re­quired to em­ploy a cer­ti­fied teacher with a spe­cial­iza­tion in early child­hood ed­u­ca­tion and to pay that teacher a com­pa­ra­ble salary to the salary made in the school sys­tem.

Fund­ing can be used for di­rect services for stu­dents, com­pre­hen­sive services, pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment for staff, teacher salaries and sup­plies and ma­te­ri­als for the class­room.

Mary­land’s plan in­cluded many high-need com­mu­ni­ties in all re­gions of the state, but with a spe­cial em­pha­sis on high-need com­mu­ni­ties in Bal­ti­more City, es­pe­cially by ex­pand­ing the highly ef­fec­tive Judy Cen­ter com­pre­hen­sive services model.

“Early ed­u­ca­tion is one of the smartest in­vest­ments we can make,” De­laney said. “High-qual­ity preschool helps young learn­ers pre­pare for ele­men­tary school, can have longterm ben­e­fits and can help re­duce the achieve­ment gap.”

BAR­BARA MIKUL­SKI

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