The Daviess County Public Schools preschool department has been awarded two grants that will support their mission of providing quality early childhood education programs designed to build a strong foundation of learning.
DCPS received a Preschool Partnership Tier 3, Round 2 Award from the Kentucky Department of Education for the fiscal year of 2018, which provides $75,000 for each of two special programs, for a total award of $150,000 to benefit the district’s youngest students.
- One award will benefit an after-school program at Southern Oaks Elementary School. The “wrap-around” program is a new concept being piloted by the district, providing a full day of preschool learning experiences for children. The Southern Oaks area was selected because of a shortage of quality day care facilities in that area. Traditional DCPS preschool programs are half-day experiences, with children attending either morning or afternoon sessions, but for many parents and working families, it is difficult or impossible to find affordable child care for the other half of the day. The result is that many families cannot take advantage of preschool because of cost, transportation and other challenges involved with finding supervised care for the remaining half of each day. “The wrap-around program at Southern Oaks will provide these children with a full day of instruction and enrichment activities,” said DCPS preschool coordinator Chris Westerfield. “Transportation, breakfast and lunch are also provided for these students, which is a tremendous benefit to working families.”
- The second grant will support a partnership between the DCPS district and the Family YMCA of Owensboro, Pleasant Grove Learning Center and Sweet Peas daycare center. Students attending preschool programs at Deer Park Elementary School who are English language learners, homeless and/or have been identified with behavior disorders will have the opportunity to attend half-day preschool at Deer Park, then will be transported to one of the three partner agencies for a remaining half-day of quality instruction and enrichment programs.
The grant proposals were developed by Westerfield and Janet Land, who retired June 30 after 20 years as DCPS preschool coordinator. Land said, “A preschool needs assessment clearly demonstrated a need for this program. Our grant was based on this need, and we believe that providing preschool and the accompanying wrap-around program for our students in the Southern Oaks area will be a huge benefit for children and their families.”
Matt Robbins, who assumed leadership of the district as superintendent on July 1, has said that early childhood education will be a priority. “One of our greatest responsibilities is that of ensuring that every child has a positive introduction to lifelong learning,” Robbins said. “The foundation that is established at a young age has a tremendous impact on success in the classroom and beyond.”