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Ready to Learn shifts preschool funds
STORY CORRECTED TO REFLECT UPDATED INFORMATION--More than 40 community-based preschool providers around the city will lose preschool funding under the city’s “Ready to Learn” preschool competition, an effort to shift preschool seats to high-quality programs in neighborhoods where they are needed.
Less than a handful of schools lost their programs. Where schools with preschool programs are closing due to this year's school actions, their respective welcoming schools will all have preschool programs. Mays, Cullen, Burnham, Wells, Mollison, and Gompers elementaries will all be getting new preschool programs.
Most of the community agencies that are were not funded in the contest, roughly 25, are on the city’s South Side. About five are on the West Side, and just ten are on the North Side.
As part of the grant competition, all schools and community agencies that had been offering preschool had to reapply for their funding. They were judged on neighborhood need as well as factors like communicating with parents and reaching out to the neediest children.
In the application, schools also were asked to provide evidence of their quality from teacher observations and assessments like Teaching Strategies GOLD and the Kindergarten Readiness Tool.
In one area, Englewood, the city is stepping in because it says there weren’t enough qualified providers who applied for the program. The city plans to open a birth-to-5 early learning center to serve 370 children in Englewood, because of a lack of quality applications to meet need in the area. Altogether, the city says it is spending $10 million more this year to provide 2,300 more preschool seats.
It is unclear how many children currently attend the programs that are losing their funding. Also, CPS did not provide information on how many seats each of the programs funded for next year would have, or on where the new community-based preschool programs would be located.
CPS also announced it will begin charging some families for preschool programs in CPS schools. The 97 percent of preschool students who qualify for free or reduced price school lunches will be able to attend for free, but others will be required to pay between $160 and $4,250 a year depending on income.
All families must now submit proof of income when applying for preschool, under a new application process with a deadline of May 3. Low-income families will get the first shot at available slots.
List updated April 8. Tuition-based preschools will not be affected, and CPS officials were still trying to confirm the fate of preschools at Montessori schools and special education schools.
New programs in elementary schools, other than welcoming schools
Frazier Prospective IB
New programs in community agencies
Archer Ave. Learning Station, Inc.
Chance after Chance
Chicago Lighthouse for People who are Blind or Visually Impaired
Home of Life Community Development Corporation
Little Achievers Learning Center
Montessori School of Englewood
One Hope United – Northern Region
Community agencies previously in CPS Community Partnership Program that will not receive funding
Abraham Lincoln Centre
A-Karrasel Child Care Centers
Black Rhino, Inc. / Building Blocks Learning Academy
Bunnyland Developmental Childcare Association
Caring Hands A Step Ahead Learning Center
Chesterfield Tom Thumb Day Care Center
Children’s Development Corporation
Children’s Garden Child Development Center
Children’s House – Lake Meadows
Chipper Preschool and Kindergarten
Creative Mansion Children’s Academy
Ezzard Charles School Day Care Center
First Start Child Care Academy
Fresh Start Daycare
Happy Kids Learning Center
Institute for Positive Education (New Concept)
JFH Educational Academy / Jolly Fun House Playschools
Keeper’s Institute Infant / Child Care
Kenyatta’s Day Care Center
Kids Place II
Kimball Day Care Center
Kove Learning Academy
Lava Inc / Chatterbox Preschool
Lee’s Cuddles N Care
Les Finch’s Learning Tree
Little Giant Child Care Center
Little Hands Child Creative Center
Little Leaders of Tomorrow
Little People Day Care and Kindergarten
Loren Children’s Learning Center
Love Learning Center / Day Care
Lutheran Day Nursery
North Kenwood Day Care Center
Pinks Child Care Academy
Precious Little Ones Learning Center
Ravenswood Community Daycare
Small Stride Academy
South Harper Montessori School
Tiny Tot Villa