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Texas Workforce Commission Grants $12 Million to TEEM
The TWC's Quality Childcare Matching Funds will help young children get ready to succeed in school
A pre-kindergarten education program developed by the State Center for Early Childhood Development at the Children's Learning Institute, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, is receiving an additional $12 million in funding from the Texas Workforce Commission.
The TWC's Quality Childcare Matching Funds will help the learning readiness program, the Texas Early Education Model (TEEM), expand coverage into rural areas and smaller communities. The program is the state-supported effort to improve the readiness of children entering kindergarten.
"This is a great opportunity to leverage state and federal dollars to help ensure that disadvantaged children enter school on a level playing field," said Diane Rath, chair of the TWC, which gave the program $8.3 million in matching funds in June 2006. TWC receives funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to spend on quality child care, and TEEM receives matching funds from the Texas Education Agency.
Through TEEM, early childhood education programs in over 2,000 classrooms serving more than 30,000 poor and at-risk children in 32 Texas communities are receiving resources, training and other support. Project evaluations have found that both Spanish- and English-speaking children are showing substantial gains in early literacy and language development, key ingredients in assuring success throughout their school years.
The new $12 million will allow a substantial increase in the number of children served, with a particular focus on expanding to rural communities, serving more military families, and piloting professional development for teachers of children up to 5 years old.
"This new funding will provide the type of instructional resources and teacher professional development that that has a proven track record for assuring that children enter school ready to succeed," said Susan Landry, Ph.D., the state center's director. "For the first time in Texas, young children across all types of early childhood settings will have access to the same high quality programs."
Landry, who is director of the Children's Learning Institute and the Michael Matthew Knight Memorial Professor of Pediatrics at the UT Medical School at Houston, expressed appreciation to the Texas Workforce Commission and its chair, Diane Rath, for their commitment to enhance the program.
Key components of TEEM include: developing a partnership among child care and early education programs; using research-based, state-approved curricula; and using progress monitoring to ensure that children are meeting instructional goals. In addition, the State Center for Early Childhood Development is developing and piloting the Texas School Readiness Certification System, an online application process to support the preparation of children entering kindergarten from early childhood education programs.
TEEM resulted from Senate Bills 76 and 23 in the 2003-05 and 2005-07 state legislative biennia. The project encourages shared resources among public and private child care programs, including nonprofit and for-profit child care centers, public school districts and Head Start.
In addition to the 20 Texas communities already receiving TEEM grants, new areas TEEMing up include: rural Amarillo, Beaumont, Nederland/ Beaumont, Belton, Copperas Cove/Fort Worth, Corpus Christi/Kingsville, Ellis County, Huntsville, Killeen, Kilgore/Tyler/East Texas, La Marque, LaSara, McAllen, Northeast Texas, Pearsall/Crystal City, Stockdale and Temple.