The Arizona Department of Education today received notice that it has been awarded $20 million in federal funds as part of the 2014 Preschool Development Grant program, which is administered jointly by the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The funds will be used to make preschool programs in a variety of settings more readily available to thousands of children in 15 high-needs communities across the state and will promote success in those programs by enhancing quality and building infrastructure statewide.
“This award recognizes Arizona’s commitment to developing high-quality early education and preschool options for students who will benefit most from those services,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal. “By giving vulnerable Arizona children access to effective preschool programs, we hope to improve their chances of succeeding in school and beyond.”
Staff in ADE’s Early Childhood Education unit finalized the grant application earlier this year with support from the Governor’s Office, First Things First, and other early learning stakeholders. The $20 million award was the largest of five development grants announced, and the second largest of 18 total state awards.
Amy Corriveau, Deputy Associate Superintendent for Early Childhood Education at ADE and lead author of the grant proposal, said that the additional funding would specifically target Arizona’s English language learners and students living in low-income households. “We hope to see a real impact in our target communities over the course of the four year project period and are excited to move forward.”
Funds will also be used to support Quality First, Arizona’s multi-tiered rating and improvement system, and to grow partnerships with institutes of higher education designed to increase the number of professionals with Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Special Education certifications.
Also announced today were several new Early Head Start-Child Care (EHS-CC) Partnership grants, which allow new or existing Early Head Start programs to partner with local child care centers and family child care providers serving infants and toddlers from low-income families. Several Arizona EHS grantees applied and were awarded a total of $8,400,000 in yearly grant funding.