Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education awarded $33M federal grant
Governor Kay Ivey on Thursday announced that the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education has been newly awarded a total of $33 million by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Education for a renewal of the state’s Preschool Development Grant Birth Through Five (PDG B-5) initiative over the next three years.
The PDG B-5 renewal grant will support Alabama’s longstanding efforts to expand access to high quality early childhood care and education for all children. This includes building upon the successes of the Yellowhammer State’s voluntary First Class Pre-K, which has been named the nation’s best for 13 consecutive years.
Additionally, the grant will boost First Teacher Home Visiting and Pre-K – 3rd Grade Integrated Approach to Early Learning (P-3) programs as well as promote Alabama’s groundbreaking Born Ready movement launched earlier this month.
In a statement, Ivey said, “Alabama’s youngest citizens are the future of our state, which is why I am so proud to welcome this critical funding. As we continue to grow our First Class Pre-K program, we must also expand its learning methods and best practices from birth through third grade.”
“When students are successful in their first few years of school, they are much more likely to be successful throughout their life. I applaud Secretary Jeana Ross and her team at the Department of Early Childhood Education for their important work in securing these funds, and of course, for securing a strong future for the children of Alabama,” the governor concluded.
Alabama’s PDG B-5 work aligns with Ivey’s trademark Strong Start, Strong Finish initiative, a comprehensive education-to-workforce agenda with a focus on the birth-five continuum, recognizing a child’s first five years as foundational for lifelong success. The PDG B-5 renewal grant will ensure the state meets the goals laid out in the Strong Start, Strong Finish initiative while continuing to improve system coordination.
The renewal grant followed the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education, along with 100 other state agencies and non-governmental organizations, this year completing a comprehensive assessment of early care and education needs in the state of Alabama and constructing a strategic plan to meet these needs. The renewal grant will ensure the state continues to deliver high quality early childhood care and education while expanding access to programs that support all children, especially low-income, rural, disadvantaged children.
“This award will assist us in moving closer to realizing the vision that all Alabama children are healthy and emotionally ready to enter kindergarten, particularly low-income and disadvantaged children, and strong supports are provided to assist families in making informed choices,” Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education Secretary Jeana Ross stated.
This renewal grant comes after Alabama originally received a $10.6 million PDG B-5 award in December of 2018.
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn