At its Sept. 22, 2022 meeting, the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners approved $3.7 million in ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funds for Smart Start of Forsyth County on behalf of The Pre-K Priority, a collaborative of more than 80 Pre-K leaders and advocates in the county. The grant will fund a two-year project supporting 30 Pre-K classrooms with specific high-quality resources and will impact 540 Pre-K students as well as 60 Pre-K educators. The Pre-K Priority collaborative outlined six primary outcomes they expect to achieve with the funding:
- Establish a high-quality Pre-K foundation using the project’s model cohort of 30 Pre-K classrooms and educators;
- address challenges within the Pre-K landscape and set standards for future expansion;
- maximize the unique strengths and collaborative effectiveness of Forsyth County’s early childhood education partners;
- invest in the development and retention of Pre-K educators through coaching, technical assistance and salary parity within the project’s 30-classroom cohort to help inform scaling those aspects across the full Pre-K landscape;
- support parents and families of the cohort classrooms using evidence-based programs and engaging Family Advocates/Specialists; and
- track outcomes, monitor fidelity of implementation and develop an integrated data system to connect early childhood education networks in the community.