September 5, 2019
PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Holyoke Receives $750,000 to Support Preschool Access
HOLYOKE, MA – The Holyoke Public Schools has been awarded a $750,000 Commonwealth Preschool Partnership Initiative (CPPI) Grant from the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care. The funding for Fiscal Year 2020 will be used to continue to provide access to high-quality preschool offerings at Morgan, Lawrence, and Sullivan Schools, in partnership with Valley Opportunity Council (VOC). The twelve-month program will operate Monday – Friday from 7:30 AM – 5:30 PM, and will serve one classroom at each location, for a total of sixty students.
“We are thrilled to receive this critical funding to support early childhood education in Holyoke that will benefit our youngest learners, their families, and our city,” stated Holyoke Public Schools Receiver / Superintendent Dr. Stephen Zrike, Jr. “Last year, the classrooms operated by Valley Opportunity Council at Morgan and Sullivan Schools received the highest designation in the quality rating system of the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care. We are pleased to continue on our path for expanding access to high-quality early childhood programming in the Holyoke Public Schools.”
Research shows that students who attend preschool are more likely to be ready for the academic, social-emotional and behavioral expectations of kindergarten and beyond. “Our preschool students are nearly two times more likely to be prepared for Kindergarten, as measured on the nationally normed STAR reading assessment,” stated Zrike. Students learn pre-literacy skills, fine and gross motor skills, and gain experience being in a school environment and a classroom.
The demand from families and the need for high-quality early education are significant. The parent of a Sullivan School student shared, “The VOC program at Sullivan has made a tremendous difference in [my son’s] life. From his first day until now he has made remarkable progress.”
This high-quality, full-day preschool program that will be operated in partnership with Valley Opportunity Council at Morgan, Lawrence, and Sullivan Schools, is currently accepting applications for the 2019-2020 school year. Children ages 3 and 4 prior to September 1, 2019, are encouraged to apply by calling the Valley Opportunity Council in Holyoke at 413-552-1559, extension 329.
The vision for Holyoke’s early learning experience is to provide high-quality, comprehensive, full-day pre-kindergarten, through both Holyoke Public Schools (HPS) and community-based early childhood programs, to ensure all children in Holyoke are academically and socially ready to enter kindergarten. The Holyoke Public Schools aims to be the first in Massachusetts to offer free, full-day pre-kindergarten for all 4-year-old children in Holyoke. In the last five years, the number of preschool seats has more than doubled. This school year, HPS has expanded its high-quality preschool offerings by opening four new classrooms, two of which are dual-language, to serve a maximum of 525 students – which is an increase of 20% or 90 seats from last year.
For more information about Early Childhood offerings at Holyoke Public Schools, please visit the Holyoke Public Schools website.