By Elizabeth Warnmont
The Benicia Unified School District (BUSD) received new state funding for a full-day preschool at Mary Farmar Elementary School beginning with the 2015-2016 school year and will continue to offer subsidized full day, morning and afternoon preschool and a school age (transitional Kindergarten through fifth grade) program at Robert Semple School, as well as school age programs at Joe Henderson, Matthew Turner and Mary Farmar elementary schools.
The BUSD adult education department also received funding this year from the Solano Adult Education Block Grant Consortia and will continue to offer GED, basic education and English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, in partnership with the Benicia Public Library.
The adult ed program hosted three family literacy “reading nights” at Mary Farmar and Robert Semple schools and the library this year, hosting over 150 participants at each session. The family literacy events, designed to bridge the school/home connection, are free to all residents through the Solano Adult Education program, in partnership with the BUSD.
Source: BUSD adds preschool, family literacy programs
By Christina Samuels
Special education spending for school aged-children would hold steady, but spending for infants and children under 5 would see a modest boost under the White Houses proposed budget for fiscal year 2017, released on Feb. 9.
Students ages 6-21 currently receive the bulk of federal special education dollars, and that wouldnt change under the proposed spending plan, which would hold overall special education spending steady at $11.9 billion, the same as the previous fiscal year.
An additional $35 million would be allocated to services for children ages 3 to 5, bringing the total proposal to about $403 million. Those children are served under Section 619 of the federal special education law.
via Preschool Special Education Would Get Small Boost Under Federal Budget Plan – On Special Education – Education Week.
By Sarah Tully
Over the past three years, California has more than quadrupled the number of early childhood centers being evaluated with a new rating system, but that is still just a fraction of the state’s publicly subsidized programs.
The U.S. Department of Education released Tuesday a progress report of the 20 states, including California, that received federal Early Learning Challenge grants starting in 2011. The grants, part of the Race to the Top program, were meant to improve publicly funded early learning programs with systems to rate their quality, as well as track health screenings and assess children’s readiness for kindergarten.
via State expands preschool rating system, but aims to add more | EdSource.
What is Farm to Preschool?
F2P is a growing movement that includes activities that strengthen relationships between children in early child care and education settings and healthy, local food.
F2P activities include:
- Purchasing, promoting and serving healthy, local foods in snacks or meals
- Providing educational activities related to agriculture, food, health, or nutrition
- Creating hands-on learning opportunities for children through gardening
via Californias Farm to Preschool Program – Healthy Eating & Nutrition Education (CA Dept of Education).
By Louis Freedberg
To the disappointment of many child care advocates, Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a bill Friday that would have set a timetable for providing state subsidized preschool for all low-income 4-year-olds.
Assembly Bill 47, authored by Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento, would have set a target of June 2018 to provide access to state subsidized preschool to all low-income 4-year-olds who are not already enrolled in transitional kindergarten or state preschool. Whether that timetable would be met would have been contingent “upon the appropriation of sufficient funding in the annual Budget Act for this purpose.”
via Governor vetoes bill setting timetable for expansion of preschool | EdSource.
By Amy Maginnis-Honey
One-by-one, Eli Marrero added small seashells to the small plastic bottle. Eventually, there was no room left and he tipped the bottle upside down to release seashells.
Gabrielle Cassidy stood on the opposite side of the water table. She had spread her seashells out, putting them in a handful of different containers. There was still room for a few more seashells.
What looked like play inside the Joseph A. Nelson Community Center was actually part of the Suisun City Recreation Department’s kindergarten readiness program.
via Program helps youngsters hone skills for kindergarten.
By Richard Carranza
The month of June marked transitions for many of our students, but few more so than the very youngest. This month, thousands of 3-, 4- and 5-year-olds completed their first years of formal education in San Francisco Unified. Research suggests they will be significantly better prepared to succeed in school because of their high-quality preschool experience.
What these children don’t know – and it should be invisible to them – is that they are on the leading edge of our district’s strategy to align pre-K–3rd grade instruction. Our goal with this approach is to shrink a stubborn achievement gap by aligning primary school teaching to a formerly separate pre-K system. If we are going to bridge the gap, we have to start earlier, and that early work must be connected and coherent with the work in the grades that follow.
via How to build a bridge from pre-kindergarten to third grade | EdSource.
By Sarah Tully and Michael Collier
Lawmakers are proposing to add hundreds of millions more dollars to childcare and preschool initiatives than what Gov. Jerry Brown proposed in the state budget, but the increase is likely to meet resistance from the governor.
The Assembly and Senate budget committees passed proposals in recent weeks to increase the amount of money and spaces for childcare, boost voucher programs and give more money to centers that watch over children.
The Assembly’s proposal adds $605 million for childcare and preschool programs, while the Senate’s plan adds $332 million. Both proposals would substantially increase what Brown proposed in his revised budget for the 2015-16 fiscal year.
via Legislators propose boosting preschool funding | EdSource#.VW3iMGfbLGg#.VW3iMGfbLGg.
By Donna Beth Weilenman
Planning Commission to meet Thursday to revisit day care approval
Benicia Planning Commission will hear an appeal Thursday of a decision to allow a large family day care to operate in a home at 579 Cooper Drive.
Interim Community Development Director Dan Marks initially heard a request to open the day care March 10 from Kristi Claverie and her supporters. He also heard objections from neighbors who worried that it would increase traffic on their street and cause other problems.
Acting as the city’s zoning administrator, Marks examined points raised on both sides before deciding March 20 to approve Claverie’s request to provide day care services for up to 14 children.
via Neighbors appeal preschool ruling.
By Grace Smith
This year, Congress is seeking to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), and as a part of that goal create equity of opportunity, starting with the country’s youngest children. A document published by the US Department of Education this month, entitled A Matter of Equity: Preschool in America, spells out the issues at hand that must be addressed in order to offer quality early childhood education to families in every geographic area, of every race, and of every socioeconomic level.
US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan begins the outline of how this will be done:
“I believe that every single child deserves the opportunity for a strong start in life through high-quality preschool, and expanding those opportunities must be part of ESEA [the Elementary and Secondary Education Act].”
If school readiness gaps between disadvantaged children and their more advantaged peers is not closed, the country will be unable to ensure that all children graduate from high school prepared to succeed in college, careers, and life, says the Department.
via US Dept of Ed Pushes for More High-Quality Preschools.
During the Early Education Summit at the White House it was announced that Child Start was preliminarily awarded an Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership grant.
They have since been told that they will receive a $1.4 million grant and have started hiring staff and recruiting child care partners.
The grant also will fund collaboration between Child Start and local child care programs like Napa Valley Adult Education’s Teen Parent Program and Solano Community College Children’s Programs.
The goal is to expand high quality early learning opportunities for Napa and Solano Counties’ most vulnerable infants and toddlers.
“This grant will empower Child Start to build on long-standing community relationships and work with local child care providers to address the desperate need for high quality care for infants and toddlers in Napa and Solano Counties,” said Debbie Peralez, executive director for Child Start. “We look forward to strengthening these partnerships and continuing to lay a foundation for success for our community’s at-risk children.”
via Child Start Awarded Early Head Start – Child Care Partnership Grant.
By William Huntsberry
Attending state-funded prekindergarten substantially reduces the likelihood that students will end up in special education programs later on, according to a new study by researchers at Duke University.
The study examined 13 years’ worth of data from students enrolled in More at Four, a state-funded program for 4-year-olds in North Carolina. By the third grade, the researchers found, children in the program were 32 percent less likely to end up in a special education program. Children who were part of Smart Start, a health services program, saw a 10 percent drop. Combined, the two programs accounted for a 39 percent reduction.
via Pre-K Pays Off By Lowering Special Ed Placements : NPR Ed : NPR.
By Susan Frey
Advocates for expanding preschool to low-income 4-year-olds were disappointed with the 4,000 additional enrollment slots proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown in his 2015-16 budget released Friday.
The new slots are for the 2015-16 school year, but Brown had already agreed in the last legislative session to provide those slots, said Ted Lempert, president of the advocacy group Children Now. During that same session, an agreement was reached to eventually provide preschool slots for all the state’s low-income children. Another 31,500 slots at a cost of about $300 million would be needed. But the agreement was not specific on how many years it would take to reach that goal.
H.D. Palmer, a spokesman for the Department of Finance, said the agreement addressed not only the number of slots, but also reimbursement rates for preschool providers, incentives to providers to improve the quality of preschool, and funding for a full day of care in addition to three hours of preschool, removing one of the barriers to working families enrolling their children in the program.
via Preschool advocates seek more funding | EdSource#.VLVSNmctHGg#.VLVSNmctHGg.
By Lisa Fine
A vast majority of California registered voters believe attending a high-quality preschool is important to a student’s future success in school, according to a Field Poll conducted in partnership with EdSource.
Of the 1,010 registered voters surveyed, 61 percent consider a high-quality preschool experience “very important” to a student’s later success and 22 percent said it is “somewhat important.”
“What these findings show is a clear recognition of the critical importance of high-quality education in the lives of children, and to their future success,” said Deborah Kong, president of Early Edge, a preschool advocacy group in California. “With 83% of the public believing that a quality early experience is critical, there can be no mistake that this is a core public value.”
via Poll shows support for high-quality preschool | EdSource.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today that California leads the nation in after school programs, placing first among all states in a national survey released Thursday by the Afterschool Alliance [http://afterschoolalliance.org/index.cfm] .
“The good news is, because we have followed through on our long-term commitment to invest in our children, California has the largest network of after school programs in the country,” Torlakson said. “These programs are helping our children learn and stay safe after school, while helping working parents keep their jobs. The challenge is that many more children still need to be served.”
Torlakson celebrated California’s number one ranking with students, parents, community leaders, and advocates Thursday in a visit to the after school program at Roy Romer Middle School in North Hollywood.
The Alliance gave California its top ranking in the 2014 edition of its “America After 3PM [http://www.afterschoolalliance.org/AA3PM] ” survey, singling the state out for both strong participation among students and high satisfaction with after school programs among parents. It found that expanded learning participation in California had increased to 25 percent, compared to 19 percent in 2009, with more than 1.6 million students enrolled.
via California #1 in Preschool Programs – Year 2014 (CA Dept of Education).
EMERYVILLE—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson and State Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg D-Sacramento today announced that the California Department of Education has allocated $67 million to add 7,500 preschool slots for low-income Californians.
“This is a great investment in our future. The expansion of high-quality preschool gives more children the opportunity to obtain the emotional and social skills they need to become lifelong learners,” Torlakson said. “It will help them succeed in school, at the workplace, and in their communities.”
These funds are part of the $264 million that will be spent on expanding early childhood education this budget year, which includes adding a total of 11,500 preschool slots and 1,000 slots with priority given to infants and toddlers. Eventually, the state will be creating preschool opportunities for an additional 31,500 young children.
via Preschool Expansion Slots – Year 2014 CA Dept of Education.
By Alyson Klein
A majority of states—thirty-two in all—are interested in the U.S. Department of Educations new Preschool Development Grant program, which is aimed at helping states beef up and expand their early childhood offerings. States had until late last week to submit an “intent to apply” with the department.
The “intent to apply” notices aren’t a prerequisite for an application—which are officially due October 14—but they give the administration some sense of who is interested and who isn’t.
The upshot? States and districts may be somewhat weary of competitive grants, but the early childhood education money seems to be garnering a lot of interest.
Nine states—Hawaii, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, and Utah—plus, Puerto Rico, raised their hand for a slice of the $80 million in”development” grants, which are intended for states who are just getting started when it comes to early childhood. Overall, 15 states plus Puerto Rico are considered eligible for that category.
via Majority of States Raise Their Hands for New Preschool Grants – Politics K-12 – Education Week.
By Alyson Klein
Thirty-five states and the District of Columbia, which have already won federal grants to bolster their early-learning systems—or have robust early-childhood programs in place—could tap into even more money to improve preschool programs, under a new, $250 million “preschool development” grant competition announced by the Obama administration Wednesday.
And 15 states and Puerto Rico, which are just getting started on their early-learning programs would be able to compete, on a somewhat separate track, for a portion of those funds.
The preschool development grant program, which will be jointly administered by the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services, represents a relatively modest down payment on the Obama administration’s much broader, $75 billion request for matching grants to help states cover the cost of a major expansion of early-childhood education programs. The bigger program is likely to go absolutely nowhere in a tight-fisted Congress, so this scaled-back version may be all the extra early-learning money states see from the feds for quite a while.
via Obama Administration Unveils New Preschool Grant Program – Politics K-12 – Education Week.
By Eric Westervelt
President Obama has called repeatedly on Congress to help states pay for “high-quality preschool” for all. In fact, those two words — “high quality” — appear time and again in the president’s prepared remarks. They are also a refrain among early childhood education advocates and researchers. But what do they mean? And what separates the best of the nation’s preschool programs from the rest?
NPR found one answer to those questions in Tulsa, Okla. The city is known as a national leader in early childhood education. There, preschool means teachers are unusually well-educated, well-trained and well-paid. Educators in Tulsa have worked to make classrooms safe and nurturing, but also challenging.
via One Approach To Head Start: To Help Kids, Help Their Parents : NPR.
By Lillian Mongeau
Most California voters think the state should increase the availability of preschool for the state’s 4-year-olds, according to a Field Poll conducted in partnership with EdSource.
Of the 1,000 registered voters polled, 55 percent said increasing the availability of preschool to 4-year-olds in California was “very important,” while 24 percent said it was “somewhat important.” Among parents of children 5 or younger, 70 percent said increasing the availability of preschool was “very important” and 20 percent said it was “somewhat important.” Providing more publicly funded preschool opportunities has become a major issue in California. State legislators recently introduced a bill, SB 837, that would provide all 4-year-olds in the state with the option of attending transitional kindergarten, which is provided to children who don’t qualify for kindergarten because they turn 5 in the first three months of the school year.
via Majority of California voters support universal preschool for 4-year-olds | EdSource Today.