Ready to Learn shifts preschool funds

April 5, 2013

STORY CORRECTED TO REFLECT UPDATED INFORMATION--More than 40 community-based preschool providers around the city will lose preschool funding under the city’s “Ready to Learn” preschool competition, an effort to shift preschool seats to high-quality programs in neighborhoods where they are needed.

Less than a handful of schools lost their programs. Where schools with preschool programs are closing due to this year's school actions, their respective welcoming schools will all have preschool programs. Mays, Cullen, Burnham, Wells, Mollison, and Gompers elementaries will all be getting new preschool programs.

Most of the community agencies that are were not funded in the contest, roughly 25, are on the city’s South Side. About five are on the West Side, and just ten are on the North Side.

As part of the grant competition, all schools and community agencies that had been offering preschool had to reapply for their funding. They were judged on neighborhood need as well as factors like communicating with parents and reaching out to the neediest children. 

In the application, schools also were asked to provide evidence of their quality from teacher observations and assessments like Teaching Strategies GOLD and the Kindergarten Readiness Tool.

In one area, Englewood, the city is stepping in because it says there weren’t enough qualified providers who applied for the program. The city plans to open a birth-to-5 early learning center to serve 370 children in Englewood, because of a lack of quality applications to meet need in the area. Altogether, the city says it is spending $10 million more this year to provide 2,300 more preschool seats.

It is unclear how many children currently attend the programs that are losing their funding. Also, CPS did not provide information on how many seats each of the programs funded for next year would have, or on where the new community-based preschool programs would be located.

CPS also announced it will begin charging some families for preschool programs in CPS schools. The 97 percent of preschool students who qualify for free or reduced price school lunches will be able to attend for free, but others will be required to pay between $160 and $4,250 a year depending on income.

All families must now submit proof of income when applying for preschool, under a new application process with a deadline of May 3. Low-income families will get the first shot at available slots.

List updated April 8. Tuition-based preschools will not be affected, and CPS officials were still trying to confirm the fate of preschools at Montessori schools and special education schools.

New programs in elementary schools, other than welcoming schools

Dubois Elementary

Frazier Prospective IB

Faraday Elementary

Green Elementary

Neil Elementary

Orozco Elementary

Tonti Elementary

White Elementary

 

New programs in community agencies

Archer Ave. Learning Station, Inc.

Chance after Chance

Chicago Lighthouse for People who are Blind or Visually Impaired

Developmental Institute

Home of Life Community Development Corporation

Little Achievers Learning Center

Montessori School of Englewood

One Hope United – Northern Region

 

Community agencies previously in CPS Community Partnership Program that will not receive funding

Abraham Lincoln Centre

A-Karrasel Child Care Centers

Black Rhino, Inc. / Building Blocks Learning Academy

Bunnyland Developmental Childcare Association

Caring Hands A Step Ahead Learning Center

Chesterfield Tom Thumb Day Care Center

Children’s Development Corporation

Children’s Garden Child Development Center

Children’s House – Lake Meadows

Chipper Preschool and Kindergarten

Creative Mansion Children’s Academy

Ezzard Charles School Day Care Center

First Start Child Care Academy

Fresh Start Daycare

Happy Kids Learning Center

Institute for Positive Education (New Concept)

JFH Educational Academy / Jolly Fun House Playschools

Jones Academy

Keeper’s Institute Infant / Child Care

Kenyatta’s Day Care Center

Kids Place II

Kidwatch Plus

Kimball Day Care Center

Kove Learning Academy

Lava Inc / Chatterbox Preschool

Lee’s Cuddles N Care

Les Finch’s Learning Tree

Little Giant Child Care Center

Little Hands Child Creative Center

Little Leaders of Tomorrow

Little People Day Care and Kindergarten

Loren Children’s Learning Center

Love Learning Center / Day Care

Lutheran Day Nursery

North Kenwood Day Care Center

Pinks Child Care Academy

Precious Little Ones Learning Center

Ravenswood Community Daycare

Small Stride Academy

South Harper Montessori School

Tigloth

Tiny Tot Villa