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County approves $10 million for quality preschools

Pre4CLE  class at St. Augustine Child Enrichment Center

Teacher Lynda Boriska working with Pre4CLE students at St. Augustine Child Enrichment Center

The expansion of early education in greater Cleveland received a $10 million boost last week when Cuyahoga County Council and executive Armond Budish reached a biennial budget agreement for 2016 and 2017.
 
The two-year investment creates the Cuyahoga Early Childhood Trust, a public-private partnership meant to attract private funds to continue the push for universal, high-quality pre-kindergarten education to children across the county.

It’s the kind of support partners of the PRE4CLE initiative say is necessary to achieve and surpass the original goal of enrolling 2,000 additional children into high-quality preschool seats at public and private schools in Greater Cleveland by 2016.
 
“We are so grateful to the county leadership for this new investment,” PRE4CLE director Katie Kelly says. “It’s going to make a big difference in the amount of kids served across the county. The impact on Cleveland will be significant in not just number of students served, but the quality of our early learning program.”
 
The investment will fund teacher education and retention programs, as well as social, emotional and behavioral support for low-income students. According to the council presentation supporting the investment, there are 20,800 preschool-aged children in the county, but only 4,700 are in high-quality programs.
 
“We know it’s one of the most important factors in providing high quality outcomes for students,” Kelly says of teacher education. “Those additional supports in staff coaching and training on how to help students experiencing those challenges is a big part of quality as well. It can make our already good programs even better.”

Read more articles by Brandon Baker.

Brandon Baker is a freelance journalist who has contributed articles to Freshwater Cleveland since 2014. His work has also been featured by Scene, The News-Herald, Patch, EcoWatch and more. He is also the campaign manager for the United Way of Lake County. He sits on young professionals boards for Lake Erie Ink and United Way of Lake County.

Brandon is a graduate of The Ohio State University and enjoys traveling, exercising and volunteering as a football coach in his spare time.
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