Caroline, Queen Anne’s receive preschool funding
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.”