The Ohio Department of Education has awarded Notre Dame Elementary a grant for $100,000 for their pre-school program.
The purpose of this grant is to maximize a child’s early educational experiences before Kindergarten. In order to best support readiness, the funds awarded through the Ohio Department of Education help to ensure the existence high-quality early learning programs within high-needs areas of the state of Ohio.
“We were so excited,” explained Elementary Principal Ann Kempf. “The Diocese of Columbus, which is who we’re through, invited us to apply for the grant because we’re going through the Step Up to Quality program (SUTQ). It’s going to be mandated for all preschools within the next year or so. By having this grant first, it helps us be prepared for Step Up to Quality. I never thought we would get it, but I got the email that said ‘Congratulations,’ and I opened it up and I was like ‘Oh my gosh, you’ve got to be kidding me! I counted the zeros and I was just amazed.”
Step Up to Quality (SUTQ) is a five-star quality rating and improvement system administered by the Ohio Department of Education and the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. SUTQ recognizes and promotes learning and development programs that meet quality program standards that exceed licensing health and safety regulations.
“Everything is scored, and of course you want a 5-star rating. You have to be invited to apply for the grant, and now we have it. Then you have to be invited to apply for Step Up to Quality, and we were. Now begins the process of paperwork, getting our building ready, and all of our ‘ducks in a row’ so to speak. Once that happens, they will send someone from the Ohio Department of Education and the SUTQ program and then we’ll get our rating. That’s based on everything in our program, our curriculum, our staff and their education, the entire program,” said Kempf.
The program standards are based on national research identifying standards which lead to improved outcomes for children.
“We have had our preschool programs for the past 26 years,” said Kempf. “We have a certified staff, they’re fabulous. It’s very organized, structured, and very family oriented and we fill up fast.”
The grant money is going to be used for tuition for eligible 4 year old’s, and to buy new supplies and equipment for the program, as well as cover the costs of the growing staff.
“We have three full classrooms, and can accommodate up to 75, right now we have about 60,” said Kempf. “But hey, we’ll open a fourth classroom if we need to. We have a little bit of wiggle room to do so.”
For more information about the preschool program, or to find out if your child is eligible for tuition assistance, contact the Notre Dame Schools at 740-353-2354.
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