Cuyahoga County's early childhood public/private partnership known as Invest in Children, launched the county's nationally recognized Universal Pre-Kindergarten (UPK) program in 2007. The program has created a new gold standard of high-quality preschool, and is making a high quality experience accessible to low and moderate income families, while improving school readiness among disadvantaged children.
Through its partnerships, Invest in Children's UPK Program is bringing a high quality preschool experience to more and more kids. A centerpiece of the program is the strong partnership with the Cleveland Browns. Through Browns Give Back support, the Glenville Early Learning Center was recently launched and serves 40 neighborhood children living in Cleveland's most challenged neighborhoods at no cost.
A recent Independent evaluation documented UPK's positive impact on school readiness. The study found that children who entered the Cleveland Metropolitan School District from UPK sites scored an average of three points higher on the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment for Literacy, which translates into a 36 percent greater chance of passing the Third Grade Reading Assessment. In addition, the most disadvantaged children made the largest gains in skills.
Since opening in 2016, several things make the Glenville Early Learning Center standout from the pack and allow it qualify to be a UPK site. The center has achieved an impressive 5 Star rating from Ohio's Step Up to Quality rating system, due in part to the qualifications of the teachers, and its lower teacher to student ratio. The Glenville Center also excels at the important work of engaging families in their child's learning. Additionally, being located within an elementary school allows the center's staff to better help each child transition smoothly to Kindergarten.
Throughout the 2017 Cleveland Browns season, families of children at the Glenville Center who have had strong attendance, have been provided free tickets to the Browns home games. Helping parents provide fun and stimulating experiences is an important part a young child's development, and the excitement of a Browns game is an experience that may have been out of reach for many of the families served.
Browns player, David Njoku, and Browns Offensive Lineman, Shon Coleman and Marcus Martin, recently visited 40 pre-k children at the Glenville Early Learning Center. During the visit, Browns Players interacted with the children through games focused on core learning standards, motor skills, as well as read books with the growing scholars.
Funding support provided by Browns Give Back has made the Glenville Early Center possible. The continuing partnership is making it special -- not only for the children, but for their whole families.