Enhancing opportunities for early childhood education was the main target of a special-called assembly Thursday that introduced collectively the boards of Owensboro Public Schools and Daviess County Public Schools at OPS’ Central Office.
Board members heard a presentation by the Greater Owensboro Partnership for Early Development, a company spearheaded by the Public Life Foundation of Owensboro and the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence.
OPS Superintendent Matthew Constant mentioned in the course of the assembly that the efforts to supply extra opportunities for pre-kindergarten education is one thing the Owensboro-Daviess County neighborhood can unite behind.
“It is in this spirit that we come together and have been chosen to become a grassroots community collaborative model to increase opportunity and access for early childhood education,” he mentioned. “For all of us in this room, there is no better use of our time and our resources than our earliest learners.”
Joe Berry, government director of the Public Life Foundation of Owensboro, mentioned Thursday that the group’s partnership with OPS and DCPS has been helpful in working to enhance instructional opportunities for the neighborhood’s youngest residents.
“It requires collaboration, it requires engagement with a wide range of community sectors,” he mentioned.
The work of the Greater Owensboro Partnership for Early Development started almost a 12 months in the past, when the group started reaching out to neighborhood members so there could be a large cross part of individuals represented, because the group labored to find out what’s hindering opportunities for early childhood education and what will be achieved to enhance the state of affairs.
“We know that this is an important issue; we feel that our timing is just right,” Berry mentioned.
A major challenge affecting the Owensboro-Daviess County neighborhood is the variety of kids coming into kindergarten unprepared.
According to the Executive Summary printed by the Greater Owensboro Partnership for Early Development, on common, “49% of Greater Owensboro students arrived to kindergarten unprepared as reported by the Brigance screener in 2019-2020. On average, approximately 59% of economically-disadvantaged students, 75% of students with disabilities and 75% of English-learning students arrived at kindergarten unprepared in Greater Owensboro”
Another challenge recognized by the group is that space college students who rating under the kindergarten readiness degree have a “strong likelihood” of failing to achieve proficiency on the third-grade studying take a look at.
Ben Geis, director of early childhood coverage and observe for the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence, mentioned that after figuring out the early childhood education panorama locally, a plan was developed to enhance opportunities.
“The committee, working over the last nine months, developed six recommendation areas that we intend to work on and that we intend to actionize over the next five years in greater Owensboro,” he mentioned.
Geis mentioned the the primary level of the plan is to launch a public advocacy marketing campaign to encourage widespread neighborhood assist of early childhood education.
“When we say community-wide, we do not simply mean the education system, or parents with young children, not only the vested parties here, but truly the community as a whole,” he mentioned. “We say that when people think Owensboro, Kentucky, in the next 10-15 years, we want them to say ‘urban,’ we want them to say ‘bluegrass,’ we want them to say ‘barbecue,’ and we want them to say ‘early childhood education.’
“We want early childhood education woven into the cultural fabric of Daviess County at large. That is goal No. 1.”
Another level within the plan is to raise each the pay and the general public notion of people working in pre-kindergarten education.
Geis mentioned there are devoted and gifted individuals working in early childhood education, however the low pay scale means they transfer on as a result of the job just isn’t sustainable for his or her wants.
“If you are a childcare worker, you make far below what is expected in today’s world,” Geis mentioned. “As a matter of fact, you can make more working at Chick-fil-A or a fast food restaurant than with working with young children.
“When you think about what that means, not only for quality of education, but also safety considerations, that is quite troubling.”