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Classrooms in Tarrant County Certified Texas School Ready! ™ Show 140% Increase

Fort Worth (Nov. 13, 2008) — Child Care Associates, lead agency in Tarrant County for the Texas School Ready! ™ certification program, will host the second annual Texas School Ready! ™ awards program, honoring a record number of certified classrooms. The number of local classrooms certified as Texas School Ready! ™ has increased from last year’s inaugural group of 35 to 84, for the 2008-2009 school year. The ceremony will be held at 4:00 p.m. on Monday, November 17, in the Student Center Building of Tarrant County College South Campus, 5301 Campus Drive, Fort Worth, TX 76119.

The increase in classrooms certified as Texas School Ready! ™ in our area is a significant achievement,” said John Whitcamp, Child Care Associates CEO. “The teachers have worked hard to gain certification and we applaud their success.”

Texas School Ready! ™ – a program of the State Center for Early Childhood Development at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston – determines whether children are being successfully prepared for kindergarten in their licensed childcare, Head Start or public pre-k classrooms.

Child Care Associates serves as one of the 38 agencies statewide that manage the program to ensure the commitments for certification are met. Responsibilities include program administration, implementing teachers’ professional development and mentoring, and monitoring ongoing progress.

The Texas School Ready! ™ certification provides important benchmarks for parents who want to make informed decisions on where to place their child for preschool. Certified classrooms exhibit the three strongest preschool indicators found to predict kindergarten school readiness: teacher professional development, teacher instructional practices and early literacy activities. The model shows that children who graduated from these classrooms entered kindergarten with both the reading and social behavior skills needed to be successful.

ADD ONE — Texas School Ready! ™ 140% Increase

High quality early childhood programs, such as those that receive the Texas School Ready! ™ certification, have an important impact on the local economy as well. Studies have shown that investments in excellent early childhood education programs consistently and conservatively generate benefit-cost ratios exceeding 3-to-1, or more than a $3 return for every $1 invested. “This program is an investment in the future of our community and it benefits everyone involved – the teachers, children and parents,“ said Whitcamp. “It’s the only one of its kind in the country and we’re proud to be the lead in this program.”

When classrooms earn certification, they receive the Texas School Ready! ™ seal which is posted in the early childhood education center or school. This powerful seal announces that the children who graduated from these classrooms went off to public kindergarten with the fundamental skills in place to be successful. “With a growing number of eligible 4-year-olds, it is critical that we build on these quality enriched programs,” said State Representative Diane Patrick. “It is encouraging to see such an increase in the number of School Ready Certified sites in Tarrant County.”

Dr. Susan Landry, director of the Children’s Learning Institute at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, will be in attendance to speak about the program’s history and its significance. Several other dignitaries are expected to attend the awards program, including State Representative Diane Patrick, member of the House Committees on Public Education, Higher Education, and Chair of the Subcommittee on Early Childhood Education, and State Representative Kelly Hancock.

Child Care Associates was established in 1968, and is the largest, private, non-profit organization providing child care services in North and West Central Texas. For more information visit www.childcareassociates.org. For additional information about Texas School Ready! ™ visit www.TexasSchoolReady.org.

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