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February 2021 proclaimed “Month of the Young Child”

Published: Feb. 1, 2021 at 4:50 PM CST
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The following was released to us by RPSB:

RAPIDES PARISH, La. (RPSB) - The Rapides Parish School Board’s Early Childhood Department, Mayors, and elected officials joined the Rapides Parish School Board and the Ready Start Rapides Early Childhood Network Advisory Board in proclaiming February 2021, the Month of the Young Child on Monday, February 1, at the steps of the Gladys Higdon Instructional Resource Building.

“The Rapides Parish School District operates on the principle that children are our highest priority, families are our partners, and educators are valued professionals,” stated Jonathan Garrett, Executive Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction.

Research shows that providing a high-quality education for children before they turn five yields significant medium and long-term benefits for students. Children in early childhood education programs are less likely to repeat a grade, more prepared academically for later grades, more likely to graduate from high school and become higher earners in the workforce.

Garrett stated, “We ask the community to join us to encourage, promote, and assist families in registering their children in early childhood programs. Early childhood online enrollment begins today, February 1, 2021, and continues throughout February.”

Registration is only available online at The Rapides Early Childhood Network website. The website provides information, tools and resources to improve family access to high-quality early learning experiences.

Cindy Rushing, Early Childhood/Head Start Director for Rapides Parish, stated, “High-quality early childhood education is one of the best investments our community can make. Early education is a powerful driver of development and one of the most vital instruments for reducing poverty and improving health. It enables people to be more productive, earn a better living and enjoy a better quality of life while contributing to a community’s overall economic growth.”

Rapides started with only four of approximately 35 child care centers that were proficient three years ago. For 2019-2020, all early learning centers were proficient, with about half of the centers ranked as high proficient. For the second year in a row, Rapides Parish had eight schools named to the excellence honor roll, which means the combined scores for all Pre-K teachers at a school were between six and seven.

“For the first time, four early learning centers achieved the excellence rating,” explained Rushing.

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