DES MOINES (February 2, 2015) – Des Moines Public Schools is going to meet more needs and provide additional services to preschool students and their families, thanks to the support of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The school district has been awarded $510,000 “to provide high quality, holistic early childhood education and family support services to children and their families” at the Jesse Franklin Taylor Education Center.
“Access to a quality preschool is critical in helping children be prepared for kindergarten and ready to succeed in school,” said Dr. Tom Ahart, superintendent of Des Moines Public School. “These funds will allow us to do even more good work to serve some of our youngest students.”
In response to community needs, DMPS opened the Jesse Franklin Taylor Education Center last year to further expand preschool options in the school district. The early childhood program at the new school provides quality preschool programming for approximately 250 neighborhood students, removing the barriers of access and waiting lists to ready children for kindergarten.
“Support from the Kellogg Foundation enables us to better support low-income students, both in and out of the classroom, as well as their families,” noted Susan Guest, director of early childhood education at Des Moines Public Schools. “This is an exciting opportunity to provide more all-around services to families in areas that can play a direct role on the educational success of children.”
With the Kellogg Foundation grant, DMPS will provide more comprehensive Family Support Services to the preschool families who attend the Taylor Education Center over the next two years. Family Support Services ensure students are healthy, families are stable and secure, and parents are engaged with their children.
This early childhood project is holistic in nature, serving children and their parents with a rich array of social support services in conjunction with education, including access to a school nurse, social worker, case manager and family engagement facilitator. The team will provide medical and mental health screenings and consultation, home visitation, resources and referrals to community agencies, family activities and parent education.
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation, founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer Will Keith Kellogg is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.
The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. For more information, visit www.wkkf.org