The agency helping local Preschool Promise sites improve their quality said there are many obstacles in that process, but that Dayton’s program is breaking down some of those barriers.
Vanessa Freytag, CEO of 4C for Children, said Thursday most local preschool and childcare centers have not been able to have regular coaching of teachers and curriculum review in the past.
“Preschool Promise is making it possible for programs who have been dedicated to their children, but just unable to afford the cost of quality, to go ahead and make that possible,” she said.
Teachers at Preschool Promise sites have received more than 2,000 hours of individualized coaching in their classrooms. About 50 sites have been trained in the Conscious Discipline behavior management system. Fifteen providers have received curriculum training, and six have earned their first “star rating” from the state.
Preschool Promise is a new program aiming to expand high-quality preschool access to all 4-year-olds in Dayton, with tuition assistance for families and professional training to help schools improve. It is funded primarily via a 0.25 percent income tax increase in Dayton, with other funds coming from Montgomery County, the city of Dayton and private donors. The Kettering arm of the program also gets money from that city and its school district.
Lisa Babb, a Springboro school board member who is strategic director at 4C for Children, said there are other obstacles for preschools and childcare centers seeking the state’s star rating.
“Almost all providers can’t afford qualified staff,” Babb said, pointing to pay and benefit costs as well as low state reimbursement rates. “People are at different points on their journey toward being star-rated, and that’s where we need to make sure we have identified what the barriers are. It is our job to go in and break down those barriers and help them move ahead.”
4C for Children is the state-designated childcare resource and referral agency for southwest Ohio, and has a $695,000 contract with Dayton’s Preschool Promise to provide school training and parent services.
** Robyn Lightcap, executive director of Preschool Promise, said the group likely won’t have solid participation numbers for the 2017-18 school year until the end of September. She said sign-ups continue to increase.
** Tuition assistance for approved families enrolled at Preschool Promise centers begins Aug. 1. To see the full breakdown of tuition assistance levels, visit PreschoolPromise.org.
** New Preschool Promise Director of Quality Latoria Marcellus explained the full “menu of services” that the group is offering to preschool and childcare centers. That includes in-classroom coaching, workshops on specific topics and professional learning communities that meet over nine months to go in-depth on those topics.
** Preschool Promise held a kickoff event for participating preschool and childcare centers on Wednesday night at Top of the Market in downtown Dayton, drawing more than 100 people. Preschool providers walked the “orange carpet” and also got information about available services and necessary paperwork.
** The Preschool board a contract re-establishing that the seven Preschool Promise employees, including Lightcap, Marcellus and others, are employees of the Montgomery County Educational Service Center, which will bill the Preschool Promise board for their time.