09/02/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/02/2021 15:38
(Washington, DC) - Today, on the first day of preschool at DC Public Schools (DCPS), Mayor Muriel Bowser, Chancellor Lewis D. Ferebee, and Principal Amelia Hunt celebrated the opening of the Military Road Early Learning Center, DCPS' second stand-alone early learning center. Mayor Bowser also highlighted the District's commitment to early childhood education and visited a PreK-4 classroom to observe students engaging in joyful learning opportunities.
'We know the critical role our early childhood education programs play in setting our youngest learners up for success. That's why DC was one of the first cities in the nation to roll out a universal pre-K program, and today, it is the best and most robust public preschool program in the nation,' said Mayor Bowser. 'This school holds an important place in our city's history, and I am thrilled to be here to celebrate the first day of school with some of our youngest learners.'
Military Road ELC offers classes for Pre-K3 and Pre-K4 students from all eight wards. The school also has capacity to offer self-contained special education classes for Pre-K3 and Pre-K4. This is the second DCPS Early Learning Center after Stevens Early Learning Center, which opened in August 2020. Last year, the Mayor's FY21 budget invested $75 million to support 17 schools in the creation of 540 new early childcare seats and 180 Pre-K seats. This year, the budget includes another $5 million to continue expanding the District's Pre-K programs.
'The new program at Military Road embodies our promise to District families to support our youngest learners with the highest caliber of joyful learning,' said Chancellor Ferebee. 'As we welcome our students for their first day, we are proud to see the results of the more than $100 million we have invested in early childhood education across the city.'
In addition to investments in Pre-K3 and Pre-K4, the Mayor is also supporting families by investing over $200 million in FY22 for child care facilities. This includes existing robust investments in childcare subsidies, initiatives to support the child care workforce and improve the supply of child care, and publicly funded Pre-K in community-based organizations. In FY22, The District is enhancing those investments by over $70 million, including a nearly $5 million increase in local funding for preschool in community-based settings; over $14 million in federal COVID funds that the District has chosen to use to support child care; and $53.5 million in dedicated federal child care relief funding.
'This historic DC school, now a part of the DCPS portfolio, deserves to have the best conditions for early childhood learning,' said Department of General Services Director Keith A. Anderson. 'The building upgrades needed to comply with DCPS standards, will vastly improve the education experience for the District's most impressionable youth.'
Mayor Bowser was joined by Ward 4 Councilmember Janeese Lewis George, Acting State Superintendent of Education Christina Grant, members of the Military Road School Alumni Association, and members of the community.