District 60 Awarded Preschool for All Grant

District 60 Awarded Preschool for All Grant
Posted on 08/29/2019

Waukegan Community Unit School District # 60 learned this month that it has been awarded the Preschool for All (PFA) grant from the Illinois State Board of Education, which will allow the District to expand its preschool offerings to Waukegan’s families.

The State announced District 60 was selected to receive funding from the competitive PFA program, which provides funding directly to public school districts to be used to increase access to early health and learning services for children ages 3 to 5.  Waukegan Public School’s tentative award amount is $3.57 million for this year, and an additional $3.57 million each of the three following years, contingent upon a sufficient appropriation for the program and satisfactory progress in the preceding grant period.

District 60 took several steps last winter and spring to position itself to reestablish PFA funding in Waukegan, including proactively sending staff to Springfield, where Clearview Elementary School Principal, Mr. Daniel Hill testified before the House Appropriations Committee on the importance of preschool funding. In addition, the District hired Ms. Rita Tate, an experienced grant writer, as its Manager of Strategy and Grant Writing, who wrote the PFA proposal for District 60 and spearheaded the grant application process.

Under the PFA process, priority consideration was given to awardable proposals from entities that propose to offer services to children who reside in Tier I or Tier II district boundaries and that can document a local gap in service provision in their area.  The grant award includes support for instructional supplies and materials, salaries, benefits, professional development, and student transportation.

“Ms. Tate and the team put together a robust, thorough application, and we’re grateful that the State reviewed our proposal and agreed with our assessment about the importance of preschool in Waukegan, as well as our plan to bring an expanded program to our families,” said Superintendent Ms. Theresa Plascencia.

District 60’s preschool program currently serves a total of 800 students. Under the PFA funding proposal, the program in District 60 would expand to approximately 1,000 students. Additional plans under the program include more programming for parents and additional educational trips for students, said Ms. Cretia Kirkwood-Rasul, Coordinator of PreK Programs. This year the District has also implemented a new benchmarking system to track students’ progress throughout the year on a number of foundational skills.  

Parents interested in enrolling their children in Districts 60’s free Preschool for All program may contact: 224-303-1402 to make an appointment for registration and screening. Eligible students must live within District 60 boundaries, and be at least 3 years old.

Picture of Pre-K students

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