Iberville Parish School System selected to pilot state's early childhood education system

Staff Writer
Plaquemine Post South
Attending a recent workshop on a new Early Childhood Network initiative are from left, back, Xavier Anderson - A Garden of Angels, Juantia Williams - Holmes House Childcare Center, Sherika Martin - CDI HeadStart - Iberville Site Manager, Charlotte Bethly - CDI HeadStart - Dorseyville Site Manager, Lydia Canova - Iberville Parish Schools - Early Childhood Coordinator, Cathie Blanchard-Iberville Parish Schools - Family Literacy Program. Front, Raynhea Smith-Scott - Cradles to Classrooms, Katie Anderson - CDI HeadStart Education/Disabilty Manager, Beverly Cavalier - CDI HeadStart - East Iberville Site Manager, Joannette Gullotto - Miss Johnnette's Tendercare, Dinez Green - Iberville Parish Schools Pre-K Coordinator and Derek Little - Early Childhood Deputy Director Louisiana Department of Education. Not pictured are Lila McClure - Sunshine Daycare and Learning Center, Mary Batton - Faith and Abundance Christian Academy and Linda Hebert - CDI HeadStart - North Iberville Site Manager.

PLAQUEMINE - Iberville Parish School System is one of fifteen parishes selected to participate in the pilot program for this coming school year to bring early childhood educators together to implement quality programming to prepare children for kindergarten.

"We need high quality early educational advantages for our youngest, brightest minds," said Superintendent P. Edward Cancienne, Jr. "Research shows that students that attend pre-school do better in school, stay in school, and have higher chances for success in life."

In Iberville Parish, the school system will be working with private childcare providers, the Head Start program and other stakeholders to implement new educational standards.

Then, Louisiana policymakers will use these results and recommendations from this school year's pilot program to fully implement the program for all Louisiana communities in the fall 2015.

The pilot participants are called Early Childhood Community Networks.

In announcing the 15 school systems selected to participate in the pilot study, State Superintendent John White noted that "only 54 percent of our kids enter kindergarten ready to learn. We have a system that allows kids to fall through the cracks. By bringing all early childhood programs into one network, these communities are promising quality and equity for all families."

Community Networks will put in place new common birth-to-five standards and assessments to ensure all programs provide high quality instruction and support all children to achieve kindergarten readiness.

These common standards and assessments will provide the foundation for the new quality rating system and enable communities to better coordinate training, professional development and family engagement. Communities will be encouraged to innovate, and the state will seek to reduce barriers and red tape.

Most importantly, as communities determine the best strategies for strengthening programs, they will seek to increase the number of children served by better coordinating funding, providing families with information about program quality and developing a unified application process. Not only will they strive to serve more birth-to-age-five children but will ensure that every at-risk four-year-old has access to high quality Pre-K by fall 2015.