Quality Preschool Models Raise Awareness About Innovative Early Education Programs Around The Nation

Thursday, May 16, 2013
Early education experts converged Thursday to discuss innovative and effective quality preschool programs around the nation, and how federal policy makers could support their programs.
 
The Preschool: from the Capitol to the Classroom panel discussion and live webinar showcased state and local preschool programs from California, New Jersey and Tennessee successfully making a positive impact on children through the delivery of quality preschool.
 
The 5-Star Quality Rating and Improvement System developed by the non-profit organization Los Angeles Universal Preschool (LAUP) highlighted how accountability and support is vital to every quality program. 
 
“We set high standards for the 300-plus preschools in our network and offer the funding and coaching support to help them meet those expectations,” said LAUP Senior Vice President of Programs Dawn Kurtz.  “We look at teacher qualifications, classroom instruction and a host of other factors to ensure the programs we work with are constantly improving the quality of services they offer to children and families.”
 
Ronnell Nathaniel of the Acelero Learning Center in New Jersey reinforced how investing in Head Start programs helps close the high achievement gap facing the nation, and that proactive problem solving and follow-through in early education programs is crucial to building a better future for all communities.  
 
“We believe in data-driven decision making, open communication and teamwork,” said Nathaniel.  “We can never be complacent in our efforts, as quality preschool services demand our focus.”
 
For 140 years, the Children’s Home/Chambliss Shelter in Chattanooga, has served at-risk children in need of a safe haven while also offering a 24-hour child care center to families in the area. 
 

"We've made great strides with our public dollars at the Chambliss Center for Children, but we still have a long way to go as a state and as a country to ensure every child has access to a high-quality early childhood education," said President and CEO Phil Acord. "Each year we delay investing in early education is an important year for a child's positive development and learning. We shouldn't wait longer to make the right investments."  

Adele Robinson from the National Association of Education for Young Children (NAEYC) and Dr. Steve Barnett from the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) served as co-moderators, highlighting the importance of President Obama’s budget proposal as a means to increasing the preschool services needed by millions of children across America.

"Given all that we know about the educational, social and economic return on investment, accelerated funding for high-quality early childhood education programs should be a top priority for Congress and for states," said Ms. Robinson. "The lack of access to and quality of early childhood education programs for thousands of young children, starting at birth and continuing through pre-kindergarten, not only undermines the potential of those children, it undercuts our nation's ability to prosper in the short and long-term." 
 
Dr. Barnett noted that strong partnerships between the government and the private sector can lead to innovative programs when the right policies are in place. 
 
“The three examples provide lessons regarding the public policies needed to support highly effective early education to improve the lives of our children and yield long-term savings to taxpayers," said Dr. Barnett.  "When poverty is on the rise and half of all American children under the age of 5 live below 200 percent of the poverty line, there is no educational issue more important."
 
An essential take-away from the event was the key to helping children of all socio-economic backgrounds have a brighter future is by ensuring they receive a quality early education experience that fosters their academic, social and emotional development. 
 
“All of these organizations show how important it is to focus on the quality of preschool programs,” continued Ms. Kurtz.  “LAUP is contributing to and supporting this national preschool movement to help all children become prepared for kindergarten and beyond.”
 
To watch an archived video of Preschool: from the Capitol to the Classroom, visit www.laup.net/webcast.aspx.

LAUNCH Has Youth Entrepreneurship Competition Sunday

LAUNCH is holding their 6th annual Youth Entrepreneurship Competition on Sunday at 4 p.m. in UTC's Benwood Auditorium. Students from Howard High School, Brainerd High School, Tyner Academy, East Ridge High School, and Red Bank High School have been working on their business plans this fall semester, and will be pitching their businesses to a panel of esteemed judges for three ... (click for more)

STEM Network And TVA Provide STEM Grants To Schools

Chattanooga and Cleveland schools are among the 18 statewide recipients of the yearly competitive STEM classroom grants that the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network (TSIN), Battelle Education, and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) announced Thursday.  (A complete list of schools funded appears at the end of this article.)   Since 2012, the TSIN and TVA have ... (click for more)

East Ridge Meth Dealer Gets 168 Months In Federal Prison

A man who agents said was dealing large quantities of meth from his East Ridge residence has been sentenced to serve 168 months in federal prison. Kenneth Lemons appeared before Judge Curtis Collier. Agents said they made several controlled drug buys from Lemons at his residence in 2015. On Oct. 27, 2015, he drove up to a residence where DEA agents were making a controlled ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Man With 5 Violent Felonies Gets 30 Years In Prison

A Chattanooga man with five violent felonies on his record has been sentenced to serve 30 years in prison. Demetrius Joiner, 30, was given a 20-year sentence by Judge Curtis Collier after he was ruled to be an Armed Career Criminal. Judge Collier said the term would be consecutive to several state sentences imposed earlier on Joiner, including 10 years for aggravated robbery. ... (click for more)

Signal Mountain Couldn't Manage Public Education

I have been reading the buzz about Signal Mountain and other small municipalities considering a move to form their own school district within their municipal boundaries.  It is quite the comedy hour considering the notion that small cities that for decades could not even manage small sewer systems or 911 districts, are somehow going to do a better job with public education ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: School Board Can’t Wait

It took the Hamilton County School board nine months before the group hired a search firm to find a new superintendent. But you mark my words – the Department of Education will undoubtedly implode if our leaders wait another nine months simply hoping for some type of mystical salvation. In the last week Signal Mountain leaders have all but given notice they will form their own district ... (click for more)