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A ‘Golden’ education for preschoolers

Putnam County’s Preschool For All program receives state recognition

GRANVILLE — The dedication and commitment of the educators for Putnam County’s Preschool For All program has recently earned them an important acknowledgement from the Illinois State Board of Education.

The Putnam County educators were awarded “Gold Status” through the state’s ExceleRate Illinois system for having met the highest educational standards.

Designed to provide continuous encouragement for quality early educational programs, the “Circle of Quality” awards those deserving of recognition.

Previous to the promotion, the Putnam County educators had earned “Silver Status.”

According to Putnam County School District Superintendent Carl Carlson, the “Circle of Quality” designations take into account numerous standards of the preschool program.

The program focuses on early learning and development, instructional excellence, family services, staff qualifications, professional development, and program administration. The Illinois State Board of Education conducts monitoring visits, and assessors collect evidence using the Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scale-Third Edition and a state board compliance checklist.

According to Putnam County Primary School Principal Ronda Cross, Putnam County educators worked to improve their program in a multitude of areas, attended training, and implemented several new procedures to the preschool program.

“We’re thrilled the state evaluator recognized the high quality implementation of the new evaluation scale. The preschool team members put in the time, did the preparation and have the passion for providing the best to our students for the Gold Quality Status. They’re very deserving of this recognition,” Cross said.

The ExceleRate Illinois Circles of Quality allows parents the opportunity to verify their children are enrolled in a quality early childhood educational program. Their website includes a database parents can use to search for qualified early learning programs, including licensed child care centers, school-based preschool programs and licensed family child care homes. Parents can search the county and be supplied with a list of area programs and their ratings based on supplied criteria.

The website also includes educational materials and tips for parents, as well as a series of links to educational, health and safety-related information.

Each Preschool For All program is awarded a rating based on those scores. Rating levels include “Licensed,” “Bronze,” “Silver” and “Gold.” Based on the most recent assessments, the Putnam County Preschool For All program earned the elite distinction of “Gold.”

“As superintendent, I can’t begin to express how incredible this is to the preschool program, our staff, our students, and our families,” Carlson said.

“The district is filled with talented and dedicated people working to do what’s best for our students. This is a great example of one of the awesome programs within our district. This recognition is extremely difficult to earn, and everyone has been working very hard for this. On behalf of everyone, I want to congratulate and thank them for their continued efforts and dedication. The recognition was earned and truly deserved,” he said.

For more information about ExceleRate Illinois, visit www.excelerateillinois.com.

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