In an announcement made by Governor Andy Beshear and Lt. Governor Jacqueline Coleman on Thursday, Knox County’s Family Resource and Youth Service Centers will share $100,000 over the next two years to implement kindergarten readiness groups in the county.
“Although it is not a well-known fact, the Family Resource Center staff work with children ages newborn to five as well as provide resources for expecting mothers. We want to see those students come to kindergarten in the Knox County schools prepared to learn and be successful,” said DeLisa Estes, coordinator at Lay Elementary.
“The most recent Brigance scores show that nearly 60% of students entering kindergarten in the Knox County School System are not prepared,” said Estes. “Studies show that those who start behind often stay behind. With the recent school closures due to COVID-19, all these issues have been exacerbated. We want to help change that.”
The district’s FRYSC coordinators believe that early changes will result in long term success.
“If we want to see students who are college or career ready at graduation, it begins in kindergarten,” said Darya Logan, coordinator for Lynn Camp Schools.
This grant will allow Knox County’s FRYSC to offer learning groups to those three to five year olds that were not able to get into a preschool program and give them and their families the tools they need to be successful.
Derrick Mills, coordinator for Flat Lick and Dewitt Elementary continued to stress the importance of services offered during early childhood.
“The Kentucky Center for Statistics on Early Childhood has data that shows the higher the kindergarten readiness score, the higher the KPREP score in third grade,” said Mills. “It is clear that students build on kindergarten readiness for the rest of their academic life.”
The funding is part of $15 million in grants the Governor provided to 150 FRYSC across the state. The funding comes from the second round of the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund 2 (GEER II).
“Congratulations to the FRYSCs that have been selected for the second round of GEER II funding,” said Lt. Gov. Coleman in a press release. The Lt. Governor is also the secretary of the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.
“As an educator and former school administrator, I have witnessed how much our FRYSCs mean to our schools and students. They stand in the gap for the most vulnerable students and connect schools to the home and community, so they are the best conduit for these grants.”
FRYSC coordinators are awaiting a virtual meeting to be conducted by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services on use of grant funds. Once the meeting occurs and the grant agreement is signed, they are ready to get started planning and establishing the groups.
“Over the next two years our FRYSC staff have an opportunity to make a huge impact on rising students,” said Gina Sears, who serves as the district’s coordinator for FRYSC. “It will also be a great opportunity for our young parents to become aware of the services and programs that our FRYSC provide. From before kindergarten to high school graduation, the families will see FRYSC as a partner to remove barriers and help ensure student success.”