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State chooses Bossier to pilot early childhood program


A plan to better prepare at-risk children in Bossier Parish for kindergarten has been approved to receive a $150,000 grant by the state.

In response to the Louisiana Legislature’s passage of Act 3 in 2012 to address early childhood education, the Louisiana Department of Education and Department of Children and Family Services made more than $2 million in funding available to networks formed throughout the state to coordinate education for at-risk children under the age of five.

Bossier Schools’ Early Childhood Education and elementary schools partnered with eight Class ‘A’ child care centers, six Head Start sites, nine community agencies and Families Helping Families to apply for the Early Childhood PreK Pilot Grant.

The purpose is three-fold; to unify enrollment and access for families, implement common standards at publicly-funded child care centers, schools and Head Start agencies with shared measurement standards and to ensure equal access to professional development for teachers in all program types to benefit Louisiana’s youngest learners.

“The grant will serve as a road map that we can strategically use in expanding access to high quality, publicly-funded early childhood programs for underprivileged children and their families throughout Bossier by increasing the number of children ready to enter kindergarten,” said Gisele Proby-Bryant, Director of Special Education and Federal Programs for Bossier Parish Schools.

If approved by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education at its March 6 meeting, Bossier and 15 other pilot programs around the state will be launched April 1, 2014.

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Sean Green is managing editor of the Bossier Press-Tribune.