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Five more CMSD preschool sites have received the state’s top ranking for quality.
The prekindergarten programs at Adlai E. Stevenson, Andrew J. Rickoff, Anton Grdina, Memorial and Charles A. Mooney schools all earned five stars through Step Up to Quality, an evaluation system that Ohio launched in late 2013.

Tremont Montessori’s preschool was the first in the District to go through the evaluation process and received five stars in April. Reviews consider learning and development, staff quality and professional development, administrative and leadership practices and family and community partnerships.

Ultimately, the goal is to have all CMSD preschool sites rated. Participation in Step Up to Quality is voluntary but is required to receive funding from the Ohio Department of Education.

“I am really proud of the five-star ratings achieved by the six sites,” said Nicole M. Vitale, the District’s director of early-childhood education. “This accomplishment signifies commitment and dedication to our young children at CMSD. We believe in providing the highest quality of nurturing education for our children and are enthusiastic about expanding the supply of high-quality seats.”

Access to high-quality preschool is one of the many reforms outlined in The Cleveland Plan, a customized blueprint for improving education in the city. Research shows that preschool age is a critical period in brain formation and that the high-quality preschool can lead to greater success in education.
CMSD and private providers have joined forces in PRE4CLE, an effort to make high-quality preschool — defined as three stars or above on the state’s scale — available to as many of the city’s 3- and 4-year-olds as possible.

A five-star rating in Step Up to Quality is “the gold star seal for quality early learning programs in Ohio,” PRE4CLE Director Katie Kelly said.

“This milestone demonstrates the quality of the investment that our community is making in our youngest learners, and we know that quality will equal greater kindergarten readiness and school success for our children,” she said.

PRE4CLE, which began operation last year, honored its first 90 sites, or “early adopters,” last month.

CMSD prekindergarten sites make up about two-thirds of the 90 locations. In all, the network serves nearly 4,400 children in 226 classrooms.

President Obama hailed PRE4CLE in December at a White House summit on early-childhood education. During the summit, District Chief Executive Officer Eric Gordon was part of a panel that discussed “public investment leadership” in early-childhood education.


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