Washington State Wins Race to the Top -- Early Learning Challenge

0404_girlfriends_rotatorEarlier this morning, President Obama announced the nine states that have been selected to win the Early Learning Challenge fund grants. And out of 35 states that applied for the grant, Washington came out on top (huzzah!) -- along with California, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, and Rhode Island.

The grant awards are available for $50-100 million in funding, and the amount given depends on each state's population and the featured proposal. Washington state will be awarded up to $60 million dollars over the next four years.

So what does the future hold for our front-running state? A press release from Christine Gregoire explains:

Washington will use the support from the RTT-ELC funding over four years for several key purposes:

  • Expanding the Washington Kindergarten Inventory of Developing Skills (WaKIDS), our state’s kindergarten readiness assessment, to include all incoming kindergarteners by school year 2014-15.
  • Taking to scale our state’s quality rating and improvement system (QRIS), which helps early learning programs improve the quality of care and education they provide to young children and provides information on quality to families.
  • Enhancing the state professional development system by offering awards and incentives to those who work with and care for young children.

Gregoire says that this huge win for Washington will help to "further give our children every possible tool that they need to excel in today’s world," and Betty Hyde, director for the Department of Early Learning, adds, “This incredible opportunity means that more than 73,000 children who start kindergarten in Washington each year will hit the ground running.”

To learn more about The Department of Early Learning's (DEL) work and their leadership in helping Washington state receive this grant, visit the DEL website.

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