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Over $26 million in grants advance pre-k education

BALTIMORE, MD - The Maryland State Department of Education’s Division of Early Childhood has awarded 50 grants aimed at serving four-year-olds in high-quality prekindergarten classrooms in Maryland.

In total, 19 school systems have been funded for one or more additional PreK classrooms. In addition, 31 community-based, Head Start and other programs in 12 jurisdictions have been funded. Approximately $26.6 million in grant awards will provide four-year-old children from low-income families access to full-day prekindergarten during school year 2019-2020.

“Early learning programs provide a strong educational foundation for our state’s youngest learners," said Governor Hogan. "These grants are a much-needed investment in Maryland’s future generation and will allow for increased access to these programs for youth across the state.”

These funds allow school systems and early childhood programs to increase the length of the school-day from a half-day to a full-day, fund highly qualified and certified Early Childhood teachers in each classroom, and serve more vulnerable children who otherwise would not have access to the early education they need for success in school. Maryland’s statewide plan expands high-quality prekindergarten, provides intensive technical assistance, and ensures comprehensive services are accessible in many high-need communities.

“Providing quality early learning opportunities for students will establish a strong foundation to help accelerate learning,” said Dr. Karen Salmon, State Superintendent of Schools.  “Strong early education programs help our children refine the skills they need to be successful both in and out of the classroom.”

Funds for these grants were made possible by HB 1415 – Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education, passed by the Maryland Legislature and signed into law by the Governor in 2018.

Among the region's recipients - Charles County - $100,000; Prince Georges County - $3,110,000; and St. Mary's County - $300,000

Community-based, Head Start, and other Programs receiving funds included A World of Friends School - $300,000 and Academy Child Development Centers - $700,000.

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