Howard County schools partner for pre-K education

Private school to offer scholarships for up to 20 children

February 06, 2011|By Joe Burris, The Baltimore Sun

The Howard County public school system is partnering with a private, independent school to offer scholarships for up to 20 prekindergarten children, school officials have announced.

The Kings Contrivance location of the Young School will offer scholarships to children whose family income is above the eligibility threshold for public school pre-kindergarten but below 300 percent of the federal poverty level.

School officials say that in Howard County, the scholarships will address a growing number of residents with limited English proficiency. They will be annual as long as funding is available.

"A strong start is the best beginning for our children," said Howard County Board of Education member Ellen Flynn Giles. "We know obviously that in intervening with children who have special needs, the earlier we intervene the better chance of success we have."

Giles said that the state Department of Education has been working with community preschools on Ready at Five, an initiative designed to increase the number of students across the state who are ready for kindergarten.

"In Howard County, readiness for kindergarten has been on a steady rise, due largely to a strong collaboration between the [county's] Office of Early Childhood programs and the community and private providers in support of this initiative," said Giles.

She added that during the last 10 years, the percentage of 5-year-olds identified as ready for kindergarten has increased from 49 percent in the 2001-2002 academic calendar to 78 percent last year.

The Young School began in Howard County about 20 years ago to prepare kids from infancy to pre-K for formal schooling. The school has five locations in the Baltimore area.

The partnership signing between the county and the school will take place Monday morning.

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