CPS, Preschool Promise Boards Look to Bright Future

June 18, 2019

More than 1,700 Cincinnati 3- and 4-year-olds are enrolled in preschool, thanks to the commitment to create more high-quality preschool programs in the Cincinnati Public Schools' district.

The Cincinnati Public Schools Board of Education and the Cincinnati Preschool Promise Board met jointly on June 12 to celebrate progress to date, and to plan for the next phase of preschool expansion.

"While we celebrated our significant achievements together so far, we acknowledged as well the great deal of work still before us to do," said Father Michael J. Graham, chair of the Cincinnati Preschool Promise Board.

In the two years of implementation, thousands of children have benefited from preschool with learning environments that lead to kindergarten readiness.

"The joint meeting of our two boards was an opportunity to not only note our accomplishments thus far, but, importantly, plan our next steps to serve our children and families," said Vera Brooks, interim director of early childhood education at CPS.

Cincinnati Preschool Promise (CPP) is supporting nearly 1,000 children with tuition assistance at 100 high-quality community-based preschools. In addition CPP is working with 112 other programs to help them to achieve high quality. CPP is also addressing the persistent challenge of low wages of teachers in community preschools through its Teacher Promise Grant Program.

"We are pleased with the partnership of the Cincinnati Public Schools and community-based preschools," said Sallie Westheimer, interim director of Cincinnati Preschool Promise. "Together we are creating a better community that values early education."

CPS continues to expand the number of preschool classrooms, including opening nine Montessori and traditional classrooms at the new Gamble Montessori Elementary School, three traditional preschool classrooms at Rising Stars at Carthage, and new classrooms at Carson School, Midway School and Riverview East Academy this August.

Recent CPS data measuring kindergarten readiness found that kindergartners for the 2018-19 academic year showed stronger performance on the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment (KRA) than the prior kindergarten class. More kindergartners are "on track" for literacy and overall readiness; the percentage of kindergartners "on track" has increased 9.3 percent over the past 5 years.

CPS further found that kindergarten readiness scores increased with the number of years of participation in a CPS preschool. Sixty-four percent of students with one year of preschool were on track for kindergarten, and 74.8 percent of students with two years of preschool were on track for kindergarten, compared to only 57.7 percent students with no preschool who were on track for kindergarten success. In other words, students who had two years of preschool before entering a CPS kindergarten were 17 percent more likely to be ready for kindergarten.

CPP will begin its search for a new permanent executive director soon. The two boards committed to meeting twice yearly.

More information about Cincinnati Preschool Promise.

More information about Cincinnati Public Preschool