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Newport Launches Full-Day Preschool Program with Grant Funds

Newport Independent Schools has launched a full-day preschool that is funded with a two-year, $150,000 Kentucky Department of Education grant.

The Preschool Partnership grants provide for 20 children to attend preschool at the Newport Primary School and fund a certified teacher and an instructional assistant. The Northern Kentucky Community Action Head Start and Bright Days Child Development Center were co-applicants on the grant. A similar preschool will be offered at Head Start.

"The emotional, social and physical development of young children has a direct effect on their overall development and on the adults they will become," said Newport Primary School Assistant Principal Nichole Hayden. "Preschool helps build a strong foundation for future success.

"Public preschool is designed to give a jump start to students of low-income families or students with disabilities," Hayden said. "Opening a full-day room is providing students with additional academic and social experiences to prepare them for Kindergarten and close the achievement gap."

The grants, which were written and submitted by the Newport Independent Schools, will fund a preschool liaison who will recruit students, connect families to Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) and other resources and provide coaching to centers. Funding has also been set aside for training of staff in all three centers and classroom materials/resources.

The grants and the full-day preschool will help prepare students for attending school, said Newport Board of Education member Matt Scott.

"Many of our students come to our District unprepared for Kindergarten, which can have an negative impact on their entire school career," Scott said. "With the help of these grants, we will be able to offer high quality pre-school services to more children across the city and better prepare them to be successful in kindergarten and beyond."

Newport's preschool is a 5 STAR Center, which is the state of Kentucky's highest recognition and ranking of preschool programs.

Newport has received similar grants in the past and has been able to hire public school liaisons -two retired teachers, including one who taught special education - and other staff as well as fund coaching, training and classroom materials.

"Several child care centers, Head Start and Newport Preschool have common curriculum and have received training," Hayden said. "These grants have increased the overall quality of programs throughout Newport that are available to all families."

-Staff report