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Galt elementary school district, Delta College partner up to educate pre-kindergarten teachers

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Posted: Tuesday, August 23, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 6:27 am, Tue Aug 23, 2011.

San Joaquin Delta College and the Galt Joint Union Elementary School District are partnering to offer early childhood education courses to build a qualified workforce and an expanded pre-kindergarten program. Details were finalized Friday.

“We are pleased that Delta College is helping us with this proactive work for our community’s children,” Superintendent Karen Schauer said in an email.

Last spring, the district discussed the idea as a way to boost both student achievement and lower the city’s unemployment rate, and began gauging community interest in teacher certification to provide preschool for all of Galt’s 4-year-olds.

When the district distributed a survey in April, 156 community members expressed interest in beginning community college coursework leading to a degree in early childhood education.

The Galt Joint Union High School District is also supporting the partnership by considering high school student participation in the Delta College coursework through the work experience program for careers in education, according to Schauer.

The first four early childhood education courses will lead to a child development associate permit which can also apply toward an early childhood education degree. An orientation session with interested participants will be held next week.

Not only will the college training and subsequent employment be a boon for the city’s workforce and possibly raise revenue for the district’s budget, but it could also better prepare students before they enter kindergarten, Schauer said at the time.

Research shows that children’s brains develop quickly in the first five years, and what caregivers and parents do to promote this growth greatly affects children throughout their education and beyond.

Additionally, 40 percent of students enter kindergarten already one or more years behind academically, so it’s clear the achievement gap starts even before they get to school.

“High quality pre-kindergarten services reflect a proactive and proven way for more children to read, write and compute at or above grade level by third grade,” Schauer said Monday.

At this time, preschool services in Galt are funded by state preschool and First 5 grant funds, and only families who meet specific salary guidelines qualify. But district staff has been researching a sliding scale rate based upon income to encourage more families to enroll their 4-year-olds.

Contact reporter Jennifer Bonnett at jenniferb@lodinews.com.

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