Crothersville Elementary is the first public school in the state to receive certification making it eligible for state-funded vouchers through a pilot preschool initiative.
Because Crothersville Elementary School recently was awarded the Paths to Quality Level 3 designation, it can accept those vouchers from low-income families who qualify for the On My Way Pre-K program in Jackson County.
The school also has an opportunity to apply for grant money through the program, which will begin at the start of the new school year in August.
Last year, Jackson County and four other Hoosier counties — Allen, Lake, Marion and Vanderburgh — were selected to take part in the program in an effort to give more 4-year-olds access to quality, early-childhood education.
Paths to Quality is the state’s voluntary rating and improvement program through the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration. A Level 3 out of the four levels means the school will or has implemented a curriculum that supports children’s learning and school readiness.
Once enrolled in On My Way Pre-K, qualified families can receive vouchers and choose from any of the approved programs available in the area. Those include community and faith-based programs and public or charter schools rated at Level 3, such as Crothersville, or Level 4.
Dan Hodge, executive director of the Jackson County Education Coalition, said the county’s goal is to have at least 10 On My Way Pre-K providers by the beginning of the coming school year.
Currently there are four other sites that have been certified for On My Way Pre-K — Head Start, Terri’s Playhouse, Child Care Network at Girls Inc. and Margaret R. Brown Elementary School, all in Seymour.
By the April 30 deadline, 97 families had registered to participate, Hodge said.