FWCS joins pre-K grant program

Grant applications must be submitted by March 31

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) Fort Wayne Community Schools will be an On My Way Pre-K provider next school year, officials announced Wednesday.

In a joint news conference Wednesday at Adams Elementary Schools, officials with Fort Wayne Community Schools and United Way of Allen County announced the district will offer eight spots at Adams Elementary and eight more at Bloomingdale Elementary for families who apply for and receive an On My Way Pre-K grant. The spots are open to qualifying families no matter where they live in the city, the district said.

Preschool students play at learn at Adams Elementary on Wednesday, March 15, 2017.

“Fort Wayne Community Schools has been committed to pre-K for generations and currently offers high quality pre-K to more than 800 students in 19 buildings,” said Get Nichols, Assistant Superintendent-Elementary. “We understand the value of early childhood education and have found a way to support this program over the years through federal funding and other resources. We are excited to join Indiana’s On My Way Pre-K program and show State leaders that investing in early childhood education pays great dividends long term.”

Since the start of the 2016-17 school year, Fort Wayne Community School said it had worked with the Indiana Department of Education and the Family and Social Services Administration to secure Level 4 Paths to Quality certification and become eligible to be an On My Way Pre-K provider. The district’s pre-K programs have already been accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, with the exception of Bunche Montessori Early Childhood Center, which is accredited by the American Montessori Society, officials said.

In 2016-17, 214 eligible children were enrolled in 43 pre-K programs. In addition, $42,000 was awarded in 2016 to providers through United Way Capacity Building Grants; 15 recipients received grants ranging in amounts from $880 to $5,000 to increase their Paths to Quality level. An additional $20,000 has been awarded in 2017 through United Way Capacity Building Grants.

Preschool students play at learn at Adams Elementary on Wednesday, March 15, 2017.

“We are thrilled to have Fort Wayne Community Schools as a partner in the state’s On My Way Pre-K pilot program. Our community’s children benefit when we all come together, and early childhood education is a place where resources are needed,” said David Nicole, president and CEO of United Way of Allen County. “The value of quality preschool cannot be overstated and we know that this is an area where we can continue to do better as a community and as a state. We urge our legislature to grow this program and expand it so that more Hoosier children will benefit.”

United Way of Allen County is the lead agency for On My Way Pre-K in Allen County with Brightpoint serving as the intake agent for the program.

Families interested in applying for an On My Way Pre-K grant must apply by March 31. Additional information is available by calling 2-1-1; visiting www.onmywayprek.org; or texting prek to 59769. Information will also be available at pre-K registration at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 21, at Adams and Bloomingdale.