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Governor Chafee Announces Program Quality Improvement Grants for Early Learning

Preschools, child and family home care centers receive awards

Providence, RI – Governor Lincoln D. Chafee announced today the release of the second round of Program Quality Improvement Grants funded by the Rhode Island Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge grant.

The grants announced today will provide approximately $212,000 to early care and education programs serving about 850 children in 11 Rhode Island communities. The Program Quality Improvement Grants support public preschools, child-care centers, and family home-care centers to improve the quality of their educational programs, purchase materials and equipment, and support professional development for staff members.

"I am pleased to announce this second round of grants that will help get the young children in Rhode Island off to a great start in their education," Governor Chafee said. "With these grants that we are announcing today, we have provided to date about $550,000 to programs that serve nearly 3,000 children throughout Rhode Island. I want to thank and congratulate the many educators and providers who work every day with our youngest learners. These grants will help to develop a great early-childhood education system." Governor Chafee announced the first round of Program Quality Improvement Grants six months ago.

"There is no doubt that education begins at birth, so it is vitally important that we provide all children with the opportunity to learn from their earliest years," said Eva-Marie Mancuso, Chair of the Board of Education. "I am confident that the directors of these early-learning programs are eager to improve the quality of their services, and these grants will help these programs on the way toward excellence."

"It's very important that those who work in our early-learning programs have the resources, tools, training, and support they need to serve our youngest learners well," said Deborah A. Gist, Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education. "The Program Quality Improvement grants announced today mark another important step toward our goal of transforming education in Rhode Island – including the education of our youngest learners."

"These grants will go a long way toward enhancing the quality of early care and education programs available to families across Rhode Island," said Sandra M. Powell, Director of the Department of Human Services. "Through investments such as this, we are ensuring all children, especially those from low-income families, have the foundation needed for later success in school and in life."

"It is exciting to know that these quality improvement grants will help early learning programs across the state enhance their efforts to get young children on a path to success, " said Elizabeth Burke Bryant, co-chair of the Rhode Island Early Learning Council and Executive Director of Rhode Island KIDS COUNT.

The Program Quality Improvement Grants are made possible through Rhode Island's Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge Grant. Rhode Island was awarded $50 million to improve, over the course of four years, the quality of early learning and development programs for Rhode Island's youngest children. The Program Quality Improvement Grant program will help Rhode Island in its efforts to ensure that early childhood education providers have the training and tools they need to improve school readiness throughout the state.

A coalition of Rhode Island agencies implemented the activities of the Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge grant, known as Exceed, including the Departments of Children, Youth & Families; Elementary and Secondary Education; Health; and Human Services; the Executive Office of Health and Human Services; and Rhode Island KIDS COUNT.

The 47 grants announced today range from $788 to $29,145. Programs in the following communities received grants in this round of awards: Central Falls, Cranston, Cumberland, Johnston, North Kingstown, North Providence, Pawtucket, Providence, South Kingstown, West Warwick, and Woonsocket.

Two additional grant application opportunities will be available during this fiscal year, with additional opportunities in the remaining fiscal years of the grant. Early-care and education programs interested in applying for grants may request an application by contacting the Professional Development and Technical Assistance Center, at (401) 736-9020.

For more information please contact Elliot Krieger, RIDE communications, at (401) 222-8471 or elliot.krieger@ride.ri.gov.

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