Full speed ahead for Baltimore’s youngest children
December 22, 2014
Baltimore has made great progress in preparing young children for school, and we are celebrating the opportunity to accelerate that progress toward our goal of having 90% of five-year-olds ready for school. A new $15 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to the State of Maryland will expand access to pre-K across the State, and about $3 million of that funding is earmarked for five new Judy Centers in Baltimore City.
Baltimore’s existing Judy Centers have proven to be effective in closing the school readiness gap. These centers are neighborhood hubs that connect children and their families to a broad array of services. Judy Centers serve the most needy populations, yet far exceed citywide averages for school readiness, with 91% of Judy Center children ready for Kindergarten at age five.
Dedicated BCF donors have committed half of the start-up operating costs for three centers. BCF has negotiated a smart funding mechanism with the Maryland State Department of Education and Baltimore City Schools to ensure ongoing funding for these recently opened Judy Centers.
In 2002, 28% of our city’s children were ready for Kindergarten at age five. By 2013 that number had swelled to 76%, proving that the strategies in place are working. Now we are looking for donors to be our partners in opening five additional Judy Centers in Baltimore City in 2015, leveraging the federal grant to launch hundreds more young children toward a successful future.
Read more about Judy Centers here.
Read the State of Maryland’s press release about the federal grant here.