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Early Childhood Development Town Hall Set for Lower Shore on Thursday, April 25
Regional Gathering Takes Place at Wor-Wic Community College
BALTIMORE — The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE), Maryland Department of Health (MDH), and the Maryland Department of Human Services (MSDH), in partnership with Ready At Five, will host the fourth of nine Regional Town Halls on Thursday, April 25.
The town hall series focuses on the State’s early care and education system. This meeting is designed to engage the communities of Somerset, Wicomico, and Worcester Counties in a conversation about how to improve access to high-quality early childhood programs and services. In Wicomico County 41% of the students demonstrated school readiness on Maryland’s Kindergarten Readiness Assessment last Fall. Both Somerset and Worcester Counties exceeded the State average of 47% demonstrated school readiness, 60% and 66%, respectively. Worcester County’s 66% leads all counties in the State. Research shows that high-quality opportunities, especially for children from low-income families, can help provide students with the skills and knowledge they need for success in school. Meetings will be held both in the morning and evening at Wor-Wic Community College.
“Our goal is to identify the needs of the Lower Shore communities from our most important partners: parents, caregivers, early childhood educators, policymakers, business leaders and other stakeholders,” said Steven Hicks, Assistant State Superintendent for MSDE’s Division of Early Childhood Development. “Their insight into our greatest challenges and opportunities to building a well-coordinated and integrated early care and education system will help shape the future for children in Maryland.”
Maryland was recently awarded a Preschool Development Birth through Five (PDG B-5) Grant, a $10.6 million federal grant that will help states conduct a comprehensive statewide birth through five needs assessment followed by in-depth strategic planning. The grant also focuses on enhancing parent choice and expanding the current mixed-delivery system consisting of a wide range of provider types and settings, including child care centers and home-based child care providers, Head Start and Early Head Start, state pre-kindergarten, early intervention and special education services, and home visiting services across the public, private and faith-based sectors.
Representatives from the State, Ready At Five, the Mid-Atlantic Equity Consortium (MAEC) and local child- and family-serving agencies will share updates on a variety of topics related to early childhood care and education, family supports, new data from Maryland’s Kindergarten Readiness Assessment, and opportunities through the new PDG B-5 grant. Each session will also include opportunities for the public to contribute to developing the State’s prenatal to age five needs assessment.
Feedback and findings from the town hall meeting will be used to develop and inform a new prenatal to age five strategic plan for Maryland by identifying significant needs and priorities. More information about the Regional Town Halls, including registration and handouts, as well as a community survey, can be found at https://earlychildhood.marylandpublicschools.org/townhalls.
Wor-Wic Community College
Fulton Owen Hall Room #103
32000 Campus Drive
Salisbury, MD 21679
Registration 8:30 AM-9:30 AM
Continental breakfast will be provided at the morning session registration, and a light dinner will be served at the evening session registration.