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.

Lee's Summer Honors Program Has Record Attendance

Lee University’s Summer Honors residential program concluded another two-week term, exposing high-achieving students to numerous aspects of college life at Lee.  This year’s Summer Honors drew 173 students to Lee’s campus, an all-time record for attendance.   While at Summer Honors, students got a head start on their college career by earning six hours of academic ... (click for more)

Gail Phillips Of Chattanooga Elected Tennessee State PTA President

The Tennessee PTA has elected Gail Phillips of Chattanooga to serve as the president of the Tennessee Congress of Parents and Teachers Association.  Ms. Phillips passion and journey began when her children started kindergarten at McBrien Elementary School in East Ridge. She has served in local, council, and state level positions throughout her PTA journey. ... (click for more)

Plumbers Bring Complaints To WWTA; Told New Contracts Are Ready

Several plumbers on Thursday brought complaints to a committee of the Hamilton County Water and Wastewater Treatment Authority (WWTA) and got little response other than being told that new contracts are ready. Kay Keefe of Keefe Plumbing said the small number of plumbing companies still participating in the program to repair leaky lines to homes, have long been operating without ... (click for more)

Non-Custodial Father Who Picked Up Children At Chattanooga Daycare Is Caught In Ohio

A non-custodial father who picked up his children at a Chattanooga daycare and headed north has been caught in Ohio. T ony Thomas and the children have been located in Toledo. T homas is in custody in Lucas County and awaiting extradition. T he children were unharmed and will be in Child Protective Services custody until the mother is able to pick them up. ... (click for more)

Could The Marriage Decision Spark A New Independence Day?

I confess that this year I am having a hard time with the idea of celebrating the 4th of July Independence Day. It is not because I am not thankful to God for what was done on that day, what it represents, and the blessings I’ve experienced that flow from it. On the other hand, I want to think that maybe this year’s celebration will mark a period in our history in which a new movement ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: My Pre-Fourth Observations

I hate to do this, right on the heels of my monthly ‘Walk in the Garden,’ but I have more things on my desk that I dare not leave unnoticed before tomorrow’s Star-Spangled celebration. Foremost is the plea to anyone who shoots off firecrackers to please wear eye protection and ask watchers to stand back. Our eye doctors say firecracker-related injuries have doubled in the last three ... (click for more)