Press Release

Press Release  Healey-Driscoll Administration Expands Universal Pre-K Access in Eight Additional School Districts

Expansion invests $1.7 million, adding 259 pre-k seats for children in Gateway Cities and rural communities Expansion invests $1.7 million, adding 259 pre-k seats for children in Gateway Cities and rural communities
For immediate release:
5/28/2024
  • Governor Maura Healey and Lt. Governor Kim Driscoll
  • Executive Office of Education
  • Department of Early Education and Care

Media Contact   for Healey-Driscoll Administration Expands Universal Pre-K Access in Eight Additional School Districts

Karissa Hand, Press Secretary

Boston — The Healey-Driscoll Administration announced today that eight school districts are receiving $1.7 million in new Commonwealth Preschool Partnership Initiative (CPPI) grants to further support their efforts to expand access to affordable high-quality preschool. Six currently participating districts will be expanding their efforts, adding 10 preschool classrooms, representing an additional 259 seats across public schools and community-based preschool programs. This includes Gloucester, Haverhill, Holyoke, Hoosac Valley (that covers Adams and Cheshire MA), New Bedford and Westfield school districts.

Further, the administration is awarding $50,000 each to the Chicopee and Taunton school districts as new grantees to support planning and early implementation of a universal access to affordable high-quality preschool plan. These grants will support districts in building partnerships with local community-based early education and care programs, developing a leadership team, conducting a needs assessment, and drafting a strategic plan.

“We know that the high cost of child care is holding back our families, our providers and our economy from their full potential. That’s why we have been focused on expanding access to affordable, high-quality preschool, creating new seats for children in Gateway Cities and rural communities across the state,” said Governor Healey. “Our ‘Gateway to Pre-K' agenda would build on this progress by expanding high-quality pre-k access to even more communities, lowering costs for more families, and ensuring our hardworking providers have the support they need to deliver high-quality care.” 

“As a former mayor, I know how important access to high-quality preschool is for families and for closing the learning gap before kids enter kindergarten. This funding is going to local school districts and community-based early education and care programs, highlighting our commitment to supporting cities and towns from Western to Southern Massachusetts in meeting the needs of their residents and making our state a more affordable and equitable place to live, learn, work and play,” said Lieutenant Governor Driscoll.  

A main driver in the administration’s approach to expand preschool access and promote kindergarten readiness, CPPI establishes a district–wide preschool program across classes in public and community-based early education and care programs. By working across the state’s mixed early education system, districts are expanding access to a range of programs that meet different needs of working families. CPPI also promotes equitable access to special education to ensure full inclusion of children with disabilities across all settings. Through this program, the CPPI funding also provides scholarships to participating families to enroll in preschool at no or low cost and enables full day/full year services to families through public and community-based classrooms.

“The Healey-Driscoll Administration is committed to expanding access to affordable high-quality preschool across Massachusetts. In partnership with the Legislature, we delivered $16 million already this year and with $1.7 million more now, we’re making the necessary investments to reach more kids in more communities,” said Education Secretary Patrick Tutwiler. “This is not just an investment in our children and families, early childhood educators, and local communities—it's a downpayment on the future success of our state.” 

“The Administration is focused on expanding low or no cost preschool access to provide children across the state with the high-quality early education experiences we know give them the academic and social-emotional skills they need to enter kindergarten,” said Early Education and Care Commissioner Amy Kershaw. “We are glad that six additional districts are receiving expansion grants to add classrooms and serve additional families across the state. EEC also looks forward to working with the Chicopee and Taunton school districts, and their partners, to support them in planning and implementing universal access to pre-k in their districts through our diverse mixed-delivery system.”

“The Commonwealth Preschool Partnership Initiative is a great example of how the state is bringing high-quality preschool experiences to more families,” said Elementary and Secondary Education Acting Commissioner Russell D. Johnston. “We’re happy to see districts participate in this opportunity.” 

These grants build on the $16.4 million already awarded this fiscal year for districts and early education and care programs universal access to preschool. Governor Healey’s proposed “Gateway to Pre-K" agenda will further expand these efforts, investing an additional $15 million in fiscal year 2025, for a total of $38.7 million, to move Massachusetts closer to meeting the goal of universal, high-quality preschool access for four-year-olds in all Gateway Cities by the end of 2026. With this new announcement, 19 gateway cities are now receiving CPPI to enable expanded affordable preschool access. 

 
"The CPPI Grant is transforming Gloucester's approach to early childhood education and care. Through Gloucester Public Schools' partnerships with Pathways for Children, the Cape Ann YMCA and Kindred Gardens, more families are accessing affordable early childhood programs and special education services. Our work together is making sure Gloucester's youngest students are getting the high quality curriculum and services they need at the program that is the best fit for their family,” said Superintendent of Gloucester Public Schools Ben Lummis. 

“Over the last two years, Westfield Public Schools has partnered with our local Boys and Girls Club and the YMCA to expand pre kindergarten offerings in our community because we know that students who are able to attend preschool have significantly improved learning outcomes.  We are grateful to the Healey-Driscoll Administration for continuing to support this critical initiative to support our early learners,” said Superintendent of Westfield Public Schools Stefan Czaporowski. 

“New Bedford Public Schools and our community partners have expanded access to preschool for city families at historically high rates and with the sustained support of the Department we are seeing very clear longer-term benefits for New Bedford children's academic and social development,” said New Bedford Superintendent Andrew O'Leary

“This grant allows us to plan the most effective, impactful, and equitable expansion of PreK services across our City,” said Taunton Superintendent John J. Cabral. “It also enables us to further strengthen our vital community partnerships with Head Start and the Old Colony YMCA and reinforce our commitment to nurturing our youngest learners' social and emotional development.”

Second round of FY24 new CPPI awardees:

School DistrictCities & Towns ServedAward
Chicopee Public SchoolsChicopee$50,000
Taunton Public SchoolsTaunton$50,000

Second round of FY24 CPPI expansion awardees:

School DistrictCommunity-Based PartnersAward
GloucesterYMCA of the North Shore (Cape Ann YMCA); Pathways for Children; Kindred Garden Early Learning and Care (new)$279,949
HaverhillCommunity Action, Inc; Haverhill YMCA; Urban Village Montessori, Inc. (new)$250,000
HolyokeValley Opportunity Council; Greater Holyoke YMCA$138,800
Hoosac ValleyChildcare of the Berkshires; Youth Center$328,000
New BedfordLittle People’s College; North Star Learning Center; PACE Head Start; YMCA Southcoast$330,000
WestfieldBoys and Girls Club of Westfield; YMCA of Great Westfield$250,000 

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Media Contact   for Healey-Driscoll Administration Expands Universal Pre-K Access in Eight Additional School Districts

  • Governor Maura Healey and Lt. Governor Kim Driscoll 

    Since taking office, Governor Healey and Lieutenant Governor Driscoll’s top priority has been building a Massachusetts that’s competitive, equitable, and affordable for every family, worker, and business.
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