Tyrone Area spotlights PreK partnership grant initiative

During the last two weeks, The Daily Herald featured a series of articles highlighting the “Week of the Young Child” that was celebrated from April 2-8.
Ahead of the Tyrone Area School Board meeting last Tuesday, a committee session was held for school board members and administrators to spotlight an early childhood initiative between the district and several community partners.
The presentation was conducted by TASD Assistant Superintendent Joann Lang, Tyrone Area Elementary Principal /Title 1 Coordinator Theodosia Spewock, K4-Third Grade Teacher/K4 and Kindergarten Literacy Coach Melissa Russell and Blair County Head Start’s Terry Waskovich.
The presentation highlighted the PreK Counts Partnership Grant. It provided Tyrone Area with funding to establish working PreK partnerships between the district and community partners.
The expectation of the initiative was to implement high quality Pre-Kindergarten education for all children in conformance with Pennsylvania early Learning standards. Monthly partnership meetings were held.
Participants in the initiative include Tyrone Area’s Preschool, Blair County Head Start, Intermediate Unit 08 (IU-08), YMCA Preschool and community-based participants: A Child’s Garden, Presbyterian Church Preschool and St. Matthew Preschool. The committee also met with Bob Bell, the director of the PreK Grant. A parent survey was also conducted to assess needs.
The partnership’s participants and other preschools were encouraged to submit information to The Daily Herald to engage the community in an effort to advance the PreK message. Other community engagement included art work from children displayed in downtown Tyrone as well as parenting tips featured in The Herald. There was also a sharing of resources to provide parent involvement activities that included a magic show and a library story hour.
The 2005-06 school year was used for planning for the initiative while the 2006-07 school year will be an implementation year. Participants submitted implementation plans for the upcoming year.
Tyrone Area, as coordinators of the grant, will assist sites with implementing consistent curriculum and assessments that are aligned with the Pennsylvania Early Learning Standards, assure that sites complete environmental rating scales, assist each partner in obtaining the next Keystone Stars level, provide staff development and modeling of instructional strategies to provide consistency across programs and to facilitate parent and community involvement activities.
The implementation of the PreK Partnership and the move of the fifth grade to the Tyrone Area Middle School should allow for a long-held goal to be accomplished. With fifth grade students moving to the Tyrone Area Middle School next school year, the district will be able to establish an early childhood center in the Tyrone Area Elementary School building.
The middle school has been the site of a expansion and renovation project that is close to completion. The project will allow for the move of the fifth grade students, which will free up space for the early childhood center.