City schools receive funding for First Teacher Home Visiting program
The Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education granted Gadsden City Schools funding for a First Teacher Home Visiting program, according to a news release from the department.
The new program will use two evidence-based models of service delivery: Home Instruction for the Parents of Preschool Youngsters and Parents as Teachers. It will have the capacity to serve 120 families, working with women during pregnancy and families with children up to kindergarten entry.
“This is tremendous progress in supporting parents in being their child’s first and most important teacher. Gadsden City Schools has great leadership in engaging parents in their child’s education, and this effort will further impact student success and overall family well-being,” Jeana Ross, secretary of early childhood education, said in the release.
“We feel this First Teacher’s Grant will be a tremendous asset to our schools and community,” Gadsden City Superintendent Tony Reddick said in the release. “I would like to thank Etowah County Commissioner Jeffrey Washington for his insight into the need for a Fatherhood Initiative and finding help for parents of birth to school age children to improve school readiness.
“Kindergarten readiness and parenting skills are areas we have listed as priorities on our District Strategic Plan,” Reddick said. “This grant will assist Gadsden City Schools with helping parents become active in getting their children ready for school; strengthening parenting skills; and adding seven jobs for home visitors. Fortunately, we will be able to serve students in all areas of Etowah County and are not tied to our school district lines. We are fortunate to be the only recipient of this grant in our county.”
The First Teacher Home Visiting program is managed by the Department of Early Childhood Education and uses utilizes three home visiting models to provide resources and support for Alabama children and their families. In addition to HIPPY and PAT, there is Nurse Family Partnership.
“The First Teacher Home Visiting program is thankful for programs like Gadsden City Schools who recognize that partnering with parents and helping them become their child’s best teacher is a priority that will pay off for many years to come,” Dianna Tullier, the department’s director of First Teacher Home Visiting, said in the release.
Gov. Kay Ivey in 2018 allocated $1 million for the State of Alabama Infant Mortality Reduction Initiative, through which First Teacher Home Visiting has grown from serving 53 counties last year to all 67 counties in 2019.
The 2020 Education Trust Fund budget approved by the Legislature includes the largest single-year increase ever for the Department of Early Childhood Education, with additional funding for Ivey’s Strong Start Strong Finish education initiative, First Teacher Home Visiting and the nationally recognized Alabama First Class Pre-K program.
First Teacher Home Visiting also receives funding from the Governor’s Infant Mortality Reduction Initiative, Alabama Medicaid and the state Department of Human Resources. First Teacher Home Visiting currently supports 38 programs statewide serving more than 3,460 families.