On Tuesday morning, Sept. 13, 2022, the Department of Education and Early Learning (DEEL) announced $782,000 in facilities funding for six Seattle Preschool Program (SPP) providers, including $109,120 for the Community School of West Seattle.
The announcement also celebrated the start of the eighth year of SPP, which has expanded from serving 283 students in 2015 to having capacity for more than 2,100 students for the 2022-2023 school year.
“As we start Year 8 of providing high-quality early learning opportunities to Seattle families through the Seattle Preschool Program, DEEL is excited to provide another round of facilities funding, including our first-ever awards to Family Child Care providers, who represent a valued and strategic element in our early learning strategy,” said DEEL Director Dr. Dwane Chappelle. “These FCC–SPP providers serve some of the most diverse communities in Seattle, providing our award-winning programming in a culturally and linguistically responsive format that supports kindergarten readiness.”
Programming for most Seattle Preschool Program sites was scheduled to begin Monday, September 12; however, due to the teachers’ strike and ongoing negotiations between Seattle Public Schools (SPS) and the Seattle Education Association that continued through Monday, preschool at 23 SPS sites was delayed. With a tentative agreement announced Monday evening, parents with preschoolers enrolled at SPS sites should expect an update from SPS about the first day of school on Tuesday afternoon. Community-based SPP classrooms, including 21 FCC sites and 43 community-based organizations (CBOs), had all began preschool programming by Monday, with some starting as early as August 30.
“We are incredibly thankful for the Seattle Preschool Program facilities grant award,” said Whitney Young, Operations Manager at Community School of West Seattle (CSWS), one of SPP’s community-based sites where City leaders welcomed parents and preschoolers on Tuesday morning. “Community School of West Seattle was able to be re-plumbed over the past couple of weeks to replace a very old system on the brink of failure.” In addition to safety and infrastructure stability improvements, CSWS also plans to add a canopy to their outdoor learning spaces to provide all-weather access and help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
This year, facilities grant proposals that received funding focused on improvements to existing facilities and classrooms rather than an expansion of classrooms or new buildings. SPP has experienced consistent growth throughout its first eight years, and the SPP Provider Facilities Funding, which is supported by the Families, Education, Preschool, and Promise Levy, is designed to support both expansion and improvement of existing facilities to ensure long-term, sustainable access to high-quality learning environments within the Seattle Preschool Program. Facilities grant contracts include a condition that providers continue participating in SPP for anywhere from 3 to 10 years, depending on the amount awarded.
Kusum’s Childcare and Preschool, which serves a majority of Black, Indigenous, and children of color, is one of the three FCC providers who received a facilities award this year. “Young children learn best in environments that support development of the whole child,” said Kusumben Chohan, Owner of Kusum’s Childcare and Preschool. “We are excited for the programmatic infrastructure improvements this funding will allow us to make to promote healthy indoor and outdoor environments, including during extreme temperatures. Our new fall-protective play surfaces will accommodate age-appropriate play structures to help children develop essential skills and support their overall health and wellness. We’re thankful to the City for this partnership.”
A full list of awardees is below:
- El Centro de la Raza, South Seattle (Council District 2), $396,965 – Funding will support a new HVAC system, upgraded electrical system, plumbing, and classroom improvements for their historic José Martí Child Development Center building in Beacon Hill.
- Hearing, Speech, and Deaf Center, Central Seattle (Council District 3), $81,485 – Funding will replace aging gas-fired boiler with new energy efficient boiler to allow for increased functionality, serviceability, and temperature control in preschool classrooms.
- Kusum’s Childcare and Preschool, North Seattle (Council District 5), $75,000 – Funding will provide for installation of heat-pump system that provides better heating and cooling of facility for extreme weather, as well as new fall-protective outdoor play surfaces.
- Community School of West Seattle, West Seattle (Council District 1), $109,120 – Funding supports re-plumbing of facility to address ruptures and improve safety and infrastructure stability and installation of a playground canopy to support outdoor learning and mitigate spread of COVID-19.
- Jasmine Daycare, South Seattle (Council District 2), $44,784 – Funding will provide for ADA accessible pathway and ramp and other outdoor learning improvements, as well as health, safety, and infrastructure improvements.
- Aster Blossom, South Seattle (Council District 2), $74,508 – Funding will support renovations for interior and exterior, including flooring, energy-efficient water tank and furnace, and more accessible play areas.
The City of Seattle Department of Education and Early Learning’s mission is to transform the lives of Seattle children, youth, and families through strategic investments in education. More info at www.seattle.gov/education.