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 San Diego County Office of Education to Expand Quality Preschool Initiative

To ensure quality preschool for all, First 5 San Diego has awarded $45 million to the San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE). The award will fund the continuation of the First 5 San Diego Quality Preschool Initiative (QPI), with the ultimate goal of reducing the school readiness gap and improving school achievement in San Diego County by providing children with the high-quality early education experience they need to do well in school and beyond.

"High-quality preschool is an important part of a child's ability to succeed in kindergarten," said Kimberly Gallo, executive director of First 5 San Diego. "Children who attend a high-quality program enter school with better pre-literacy, math, social and behavioral skills."

The three-year award will be used to enhance existing publicly funded preschool sites; perform developmental screenings for children; assess outcomes; help with preschool teacher professional development; expand parent education, engagement and empowerment; and assess program quality.

"The Quality Preschool Initiative is an example of the impact collaboration can have on a generation," said Dr. Randolph E. Ward, county superintendent of schools. "The whole point of the Quality Preschool Initiative is to help our county's most vulnerable kids get off to a strong start. Our partnership with First 5 San Diego helps level the playing field for those children, so they come to school prepared to learn, grow, and succeed."

Through QPI, SDCOE will enhance or expand quality preschool services in San Diego County. The funding will also go to ensuring that participating preschools align with California's Quality Rating and Improvement System, which defines the necessary components of an effective preschool program, measures the degree to which these components are in place, and offers strategies for improvement.

First 5 San Diego promotes the health and well-being of young children during their most critical years of development, from the prenatal stage through 5 years of age. The ultimate goal of First 5 San Diego's work is that all children ages 0 through 5 are healthy, loved and nurtured, and enter school as active learners.