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March 16, 2010
State awards early learning grants to 13 school districts
Funds to be used to support stronger local preschool-3rd grade partnerships

OLYMPIA – In an effort to support school readiness and seamless transitions into kindergarten for our state’s youngest learners, the state Department of Early Learning (DEL), Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction and Thrive by Five Washington have awarded competitive grants to 13 school districts totaling $117,003.

The grants must be used to focus on building early numeracy, developing literacy skills, or improving kindergarten transitions, three areas considered essential to ensuring school readiness. The funding can be used for teacher release time, materials, professional development, planning meetings and other activities that support enhanced preschool-third grade (P-3) partnerships.

“It just makes sense for parents, providers and educators to all work together as children approach kindergarten, one of the most important transition points in a child’s life,” DEL Director Bette Hyde said.

“Early learning includes those first years of elementary school, so we need to make sure early learning and K-12 communities are not just connecting, but partnering,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn said.

“Local communities often have the best ideas, but the most limited funds,” Thrive by Five Washington President and CEO Nina Auerbach said. “These mini-grants are seed money to move promising ideas forward.”

In applying for the grant, school districts had to:

  • Demonstrate a local P-3 partnership that included the district, early learning providers and an existing early learning coalition.
  • Offer state-funded full-day kindergarten.
  • Define the real-life outcomes for children, families and/or teachers they expect to achieve with the grant.

The districts have a wide array of planned uses for the dollars, including:

  • Designing and producing early learning literacy kits for families and teachers.
  • Purchasing evidence-based early learning curriculum for local child care centers, and training the child care providers to ensure smooth transitions to kindergarten.
  • Strengthening parent involvement through local family nights and play and learn groups.
  • Facilitating meetings between early learning providers and kindergarten teachers.

The school districts and their funding amounts are:

  • Aberdeen, $6,170
  • Bremerton, $10,000
  • Edmonds, $10,000
  • Franklin Pierce, $10,000
  • Hood Canal, $8,500
  • Longview, $9,333
  • Mount Vernon, $10,000
  • Orondo, $10,000
  • Quillayute Valley, $10,000
  • Seattle, $10,000
  • Spokane, $8,000
  • Tacoma, $10,000
  • Toppenish, $5,000
For more information:

DEL Communications Manager Amy Blondin
360.725.4919 (office)
360.878.0628 (cell)

Nate Olson, Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction

Molly O’Connor, Thrive by Five Washington