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Highlight on pre-K and after school programs

Posted Friday, June 30, 2006

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Pittsboro, NC - Chatham County Schools works to meet the needs of students and their families in a variety of ways including offering pre-kindergarten and after school programs at many of its school sites. Several of the programs have worked throughout the 2005-2006 school year to meet changing state operation regulations.

Private child care centers have been required to obtain licensure in order to operate. For the first time, the North Carolina Division of Child Development is requiring public school pre-kindergarten programs to receive a license by the end of this year in order to operate in the 2006-2007 school year. Pre-kindergarten programs that are awarded More-At-Four funding must also meet advanced standards with at least a four star rating, which means these programs are monitored for additional curriculum and staff standards. New policies also require after school and summer school programs to become licensed in order for families to apply for subsidy to assist with tuition costs.

The North Carolina Division of Child Development through Child Care Networks, Inc. provided an opportunity for schools to apply for grants to assist with costs up to $5,000 to obtain licensure. Schools that received a Child Care Network grant for their after school programs/summer camps include North Chatham School, Perry Harrison School, and Siler City Elementary. Schools that received a Child Care Network grant for their pre-kindergarten programs include Paul Braxton Children's Center, North Chatham School, and Pittsboro Elementary School. All of these programs were licensed this spring. The Moncure School pre-kindergarten program plans to be licensed in the near future.

In addition to the grant-supported programs, the Pittsboro Elementary and Perry Harrison after school/summer camp programs have also become recently licensed. The after school programs at Pittsboro Elementary, Perry Harrison, and Siler City Elementary are offering summer programs. Perry Harrison, Siler City Elementary and North Chatham have become licensed utilizing grant funding. The after school program at Pittsboro Elementary was also recently licensed.

Programs in Chatham County Schools that have been licensed prior to this year include the Bennett School and Silk Hope School pre-kindergarten programs. Both of these programs have a five-star enhanced rating.

Dr. Mary Mertz has served as the Director of Pre-Kindergarten, After School, and Arts Education in 2006. Mertz noted how the support of many individuals helped program licensure become a reality. Dr. Ann Hart, Superintendent, provided support and encouragement for all child care programs in Chatham to become licensed. Dr. Robin McCoy, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, has been active in planning meetings and staff development. Chatham County Maintenance Department worked to help all the programs pass sanitation and licensing inspections. The Chatham County Building Inspector, Roger Hamrick, helped with building inspections. Marianne Nicholson, More at Four Coordinator, under the direction of Chatham County Partnership for Children, provided assistance for pre-kindergarten programs. Jan Waugh of Child Care Networks, Inc. helped after school/summer programs with the licensure process.

Principals have attended staff development to support programs in their schools. The directors of after school and lead pre-kindergarten teachers took on extra responsibilities and attended various staff development to meet licensure requirements. Virginia Ryan, Sanitation Inspector, and Holli Hemby, Lead Licensure Specialist, have visited all these programs several times this year working toward licensure of each program. Ongoing compliance visits will continue in the future.

 
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