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Rocky River district preschool program earns top grade from state

Rocky River

By Sue Botos

The Rocky River school district’s preschool program is at the top of the class according to Step Up To Quality, Ohio’s rating system for learning and development programs.

Jennifer Norman, executive director of pupil services, announced at the October school board legislative meeting, in recognition of its superior program, the preschool has received a Five Star Step Up To Quality Award.

The voluntary program is designed to differentiate between preschools where education is a priority, and day care facilities, which basically keep children safe and occupied while their parents work.

The district was notified in the spring an evaluation team from the state would visit near the start of the following school year to observe classes. Norman said data was collected in four areas: learning, staff, administration and family/community partnership.

According to the Administration for Children and Families website www.acf.hhs.gov, goals of the program include improving the quality of early child care and education curriculum to “support children’s optimal development and learning,” increasing the number of exceptional early childhood options available, and providing parents with an easy-to-use tool for selecting quality early childhood education and care.

The Step Up To Quality rating system uses a scale of one to five stars based on how well preschools educate children based on a set of criteria. Centers earn progressively higher ratings based on the strength of curriculum, qualifications of teachers and whether a program measures a child’s progress to discover strengths and weaknesses.

While a three-star rating is given to a quality provider, there are other measures programs must take to rise to the level of four and five stars.

According to a release provided by Norman, several characteristics help put a program at the top, including lower staff/child ratios, use of assessment results to plan activities that best support learning and development in each child, support of children as they transition to a new classroom or educational setting, working with the community to support children and their families, an active and organized parent volunteer group, use of input from the community and families for continued improvement and accreditation by an approved organization.

“The Rocky River City School District Preschool is proud to be a five-star program,” said Norman. Having supportive families, enthusiastic students and a passionate, dedicated staff drives our desire to obtain a five-star rating. We know that children have approximately 1,892 days from birth until school starts and every day matters. It is important to us that children develop their self-confidence, social and emotional skills and a love of learning.”

 

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