For Immediate Release from Valley Opportunity Council
Contact: Steve Huntley, Valley Opportunity Council, (413) 552-1554; firstname.lastname@example.org
Commonwealth Grants Highest-Level Designation for VOC’s Holyoke Morgan and Sullivan School Preschool Programs
Programs Achieve Highest-Quality Rating and Improvement System Score
Holyoke—Valley Opportunity Council (VOC) announced its two early education preschool programs at Holyoke’s William G. Morgan School and Lt. Clayre P. Sullivan School have achieved the highest designation from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts known as Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS), standards that incorporate various regulation and research on child development into the rating system.
On the scale of 4 representing the highest level and 1 representing the lowest, the Morgan School and Sullivan School preschool programs earned level 4, the highest possible quality rating. VOC’s preschool programs are the first PEG programs in the state to achieve level 4 status.
The QRIS standards are based on quality in the areas of curriculum and learning, safe and healthy indoor and outdoor environments, workforce development and professional qualifications, family and community engagement, and leadership, administration and management.
According to Kimberly Henderson, a parent of a child enrolled at VOC’s Sullivan School program, “The VOC PEG program at Sullivan has made a tremendous difference in [my son’s] life. From his first day until now he has made remarkable progress.”
Yaniree Alvarez, a mother of a child enrolled at the Morgan School, said, “The program does many activities that involve the parents and the children. I never had that in a classroom. It’s nice to be able to spend time in the class and do things with my daughter that I know she is learning.”
According to Steve Huntley, Executive Director of VOC, which operates the two preschool programs in Holyoke, “News that our early education programs at Morgan School and Sullivan School have achieved the highest rating from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts affirms the adoption of the model of high-quality early education programming we implemented as part of the federal Preschool Expansion Grant. This is a bright day for the children of Holyoke and will have a positive impact on their readiness when they enter Kindergarten and the Holyoke Public School system.”
Holyoke is one of five Massachusetts communities implementing the federal Preschool Expansion Grant. This high-quality model funds preschool classrooms for 40 of Holyoke’s children.
A hands-on approach to learning provides children with the tools and techniques to guide their own investigation and exploration. VOC teachers become support systems for expanding the learning process and give autonomy to the children.
The Valley Opportunity Council is the largest and most diverse Community Action Agency in Western Massachusetts with an annual budget of $31 million. With this Federal designation, the VOC has established a powerful network of support and collaborative services intended to encourage community members to actively achieve self-sufficiency for themselves and their families. VOC employs over 250 staff members and has 150 local vendors, providing a significant economic investment in the community.