State moves forward on strategic plan for early childhood services

Kansas education officials have approved spending about $4.5 million in grant funds aimed at improving the quality of early childhood services in Kansas.

The funding in the Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five was provided by the federal government and authorized by the Every Student Succeeds Act.

Last week, the State Board of Education approved spending up to $4.5 million for one year of planning to the University of Kansas Center for Research.

The grant involves developing a statewide needs assessment, maximizing parental involvement and sharing best practices. The Wichita State University Community Engagement Institute will conduct 20 community engagement sessions with local school districts, early childhood providers, business leaders and others. The Institute will then conduct a statewide summit and 10 more community meetings to promote the strategic plan.

The Kansas Children’s Cabinet, Kansas Families and Schools Together, Inc., Kansas Department for Children and Families, Kansas Department of Health and Environment will also be involved in the one-year planning grant.

Amanda Peterson, director of early childhood at the Kansas State Department of Education, said the grant will allow Kansans to engage in the process of improving early childhood throughout the state.

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