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Detroit Public Schools Plans Expansion of Early Childhood Program

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Jack Martin speaks at a news conference. (credit: Vickie Thomas/WWJ)

Jack Martin speaks at a news conference. (credit: Vickie Thomas/WWJ)

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DETROIT (WWJ) — Detroit Public Schools announced Monday that it will continue the expansion of its early childhood educational offerings with the planned addition of seats to both its Great Start Readiness and Title I Pre-K programs.

The district plans to add more than 540 seats in 34 new classrooms throughout the district for the 2014-15 school year.

New Pre-K programs are being planned for Chrysler and Nichols Elementary, both of which have never before offered parents an early childhood education option. In addition, DPS’ Adult Education Department will begin hosting classes at Beard Early Childhood Education Center, where students will be able to take advantage of Pre-K programs that will be scheduled during their classes.

The district increased its commitment to providing more Pre-K programs at the beginning of this school year, when it began making Pre-K programs available to all qualified 4-year-olds in the City of Detroit in conjunction with its new 5-year Strategic Plan.

Enrollment in early childhood education programs for the 2013-14 school year stands at 3,363, which represents growth of 5 percent over the previous year.

“Research clearly shows that providing children with Early Childhood Education programs is essential to their personal growth and future academic success,” DPS Emergency Manager Jack Martin said. “DPS remains committed to providing these critical programs to as many Detroit children as possible.”

The addition of seats to both the Great Start Readiness and Title I Pre-K programs means that more children than ever before will be able to take advantage of DPS early childhood education programs, because enrollment in these two programs is offered to a broader range of children.

DPS will no longer be including Head Start, which qualifies children based solely on their meeting poverty level requirements, in its early childhood education program offerings. Any child who would qualify for a Head Start program, would also be eligible to qualify for either the Great Start Readiness and/or Title I Pre-K programs.

In addition, the PNC Grow Up Great program, which expanded and doubled the number of classrooms within DPS in 2013-14, will continue to  provide a wide variety of educational enhancements, such as professional development sessions and individual coaching for teachers, field trips, classroom visits by arts and science staff, new books and equipment. Grow Up Great serves 28 classrooms in 15 DPS schools.

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