How Pre-K 4 SA is Exceeding the National Norm and Helping San Antonio
As discussed in my post, The Benefits of Preschool and Pre-K 4 SA, studies have shown that early childhood education is beneficial to all students and important in closing the kindergarten readiness gap. As parents, it’s one of the best things we can do to set our children up for success, but it’s too often that children don’t get the benefit of early childhood education. Why? Well, for the most part, sometimes people just don’t know what is available to them. We’re very fortunate here in San Antonio to have an affordable Pre-K choice… and even more fortunate that it exceeds the national norms. Here’s a few things you need to know about Pre-K 4 SA and what it offers ALL of San Antonio…
Pre-K 4 SA Grants Showcase
On March 7th, I had the privilege of attending the Pre-K 4 SA Grants Showcase at Launch SA. This event featured the achievements of the 2016 grants awardees and presented the winners of the 2018-2020 grants.
I knew very little about the event before I got there. All I had known is that Pre-K 4 SA’s mission in San Antonio is to provide top-quality early childhood education to all San Antonians. What I didn’t know was how they managed to do so… financially. It turns out that 80% of the program is funded through a 1/8 cent sales tax and the rest is funded through supplemental funds acquired through state and federal resources and grants. In short, the majority of this program is funded by us taxpayers… but are we getting what we pay for?
After browsing through the achievements of past recipients at the Grants Showcase, I was taken back by the advancements awardees made and the effort they put into enhancing what they could offer their students.
“The Pre-K 4 SA Competitive Grants program provides more than $4 million in funding annually to increase quality and access in early childhood programs throughout San Antonio.”
Between August 2016 and December 2017, 4,628 students benefited from the 2016 grants that were awarded. From increasing access to programs by expanding the length of the day to providing additional materials, equipment and services to educators and families, each awardee used the funds they were awarded to improve education for their students.
How will the Grants be used in 2018-2020?
“The $4.3 million grants for the 2018-2020 term will expand access to full-day pre-kindergarten for 500 additional children in San Antonio. Additionally, 760 working families will have access to extended-day services. The grants will assist with professional learning to increase specialized credentials for assistant teachers through child development associates certificates. Collectively, $2.3 million will be expended to increase the number of teachers, instructional assistants, support staff and extended day staff, while at the same time infusing the local economy with $2 million in service contracts, professional development, and improvements to indoor and outdoor learning spaces.”
The Bigger Picture
I left the showcase thoroughly impressed by the passion and dedication that educators in San Antonio have put towards ensuring that children in the program get what they were promised… and more. In addition to providing top-quality education, Pre-K 4 SA also encourages family involvement through their Family Engagement Team and has a Professional Learning Department that provides comprehensive training to roughly 3,000 educators throughout San Antonio. (If you’re a PK to 3rd Grade educator in San Antonio, you can find out more here. )
All of this ensures that little San Antonians receive the best early education possible- and it seems to be working. According to the independent study, Teaching Strategies GOLD Assessment, conducted by Westat, Inc., Pre-K 4 SA students, “…exceed the national norm in kindergarten readiness” amongst other significant advancements the program has provided. (Find out more about this study on www.prek4sa.com)Pre-K 4 SA students, “...exceed the national norm in kindergarten readiness” amongst other significant advancements the program has provided. Find out more here: Click To Tweet
Gracias San Antonio: Children Are Citizens Project
As the program is always looking to better the lives of our little scholars and their families, Pre-K 4 SA also hosts the Gracias San Antonio: Children Are Citizens Project. This event allows little San Antonians the opportunity to engage in the civic and cultural life of San Antonio… because they are citizens, too! An important part of being a citizen is giving back to the community, and Pre-K 4 SA students learn all about this through the Gracias event.
Throughout the year, students visit different places around San Antonio. With the help of local artists, and using different artistic mediums, they create art pieces based on their perspective of the city and places they visited. These pieces are then auctioned off and proceeds are donated to a local, non-profit organization. This year, the students elected to donate the proceeds to the San Antonio Children’s Shelter. Here are two ways you can help:
Gracias Gallery Exhibit and Auction will be held at:
The Mercury Project
538 Roosevelt Ave, San Antonio, Texas 78210
April 12 -14, from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm
Anyone is welcome (and encouraged!) to attend and bid on the pieces.
Gracias Online Auction is available to access
NOW through April 26th here.
If you are able to, please consider stopping by or visiting the auction online. Again, all proceeds go towards the San Antonio Children’s Shelter and the students are extremely excited to be able to give back to the community. Supporting them in their efforts will not only show them the value in giving back, but will encourage them to continue to give back to the community they know and love.
There is a lot that could be said about Pre-k 4Sa and the wonderful things they are doing, not only for our children but our community, too. If your little one is ready to start off their education on the right foot, I encourage you to consider Pre-K 4 SA. Open enrollment is happening now. Find out more here.
Are you an educator for, or the proud parent of, a Pre-K SA student? What do you love most about the program? I’d love to hear in the comments below.