Youngstown district preschool class awarded 5 stars

Staff report


A Youngstown City School District’s early childhood learning programs earned the highest rating as the district prepares to open its 23rd all-day preschool class.

Lori Kopp, executive director of the district’s student- services department, said the early childhood learning programs at William Holmes McGuffey Elementary School have been awarded a five-star rating, the highest rank.

The Youngstown school district participates in the Step Up to Quality rating system. Ratings are awarded by the Ohio Department of Education and the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. The high rating recognizes and promotes programs that meet quality program standards as well as exceed health and safety requirements.

Preschools at Choffin Career and Technical Center and Martin Luther King, Harding and Paul C. Bunn already have been awarded the five-star rating.

Alta Head Start is YCSD’s partner in the all-day preschool initiative.

The preschool is available for 3- to 5-year-olds who live within the city school district. There is no cost to families for their children to attend. State funding allowed YCSD to expand the preschool program.

YCSD opened this year with all-day preschool, five days per week. Last year, the district offered half-day preschool, four days per week. That change resulted in nearly 800 more hours of instructional time and increased preschool enrollment by 30 percent – up from about 350 children last year to about 450 this year.

To register a child in YCSD’s all-day preschool, call Melissa Puhalla in the early childhood office at 330-744-7325.

An all-day preschool classroom will open Jan. 3 at Williamson Elementary School. That brings to 23 the number of all-day preschool classrooms in the district.

Experts agree that children who attend a quality preschool start kindergarten more prepared, with improved early reading and early math skills.

Krish Mohip, district chief executive officer, said all-day preschool helps cultivate teamwork and collaboration skills in children from a young age.

“For most children, preschool is the first time they’re away from their families,” he said. “This helps prepare them for kindergarten.”

Because most of the children attend preschool in the elementary school where they are expected to enroll in kindergarten, it also enables them to feel comfortable in the building.

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