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FCUSD receives $1.2 million for early education

By: Rachel Zirin, Senior Reporter
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Folsom Cordova Unified School District’s Early Childhood Education Program was recently rewarded a grant amounting in $1,247,457 to be used for school readiness educational services.

For the past 12 years, FCUSD has been participating with First 5 California where they receive funds every three years for their early education programs.

First 5 California formed in 1998 after Prop 10 passed, adding a 50-cent tax to each pack of cigarettes sold. First 5 California distributes the funds to local communities throughout the state’s 58 counties.

In past years, FCUSD has received closer to $1.5 million in grant funds, but as less people are buying cigarettes, the funds get reduced, said Jacqueline Wyse, FCUSD's coordinator for Early Childhood Education.

“This grant is great because we are able to provide school readiness services for our children, ages 0 through 3,” she said. “This is an important program because it prepares children for kindergarten. They learn the basics – numbers, letters, sitting criss-cross-applesauce, paying attention, circle time, how to tie their shoes and more. It helps them be a little more successful by the time they get to kindergarten.”

While the program is predominately in Rancho Cordova school elementary schools, the program also takes place at one Folsom school, Wyse said.

The schools the program is offered at include Theodore Judah Elementary School in Folsom; and White Rock Elementary, Cordova Lane Center, Cordova Gardens Elementary School, Cordova Villa Elementary School, and Williamson Elementary School in Rancho Cordova.

The School Readiness Program also includes a pre-kindergarten four-week summer camp, Latino family literacy, health screening services, adult education and family nights.

“The Latino literacy program is great for parents who aren’t proficient in English and want to help their kids learn how to read and work with them at home,” Wyse said. “The parents really look forward to coming and learning English.”

Wyse said with the funds from the grant, the district also brings in outside agencies to do dental, vision, hearing and speech screening for the children.

“All of these affect the way children learn and if something happens at homes where they are not getting those services because of lack of medical insurance, we can provide them here at school,” she said.

Wyse said the district has been very supportive of the School Readiness Program.

“It’s really exciting that the District and First 5 California value the importance of early education,” she said. “It’s important that not only are we helping the young ones here as a district, but also the parents so they can get the resources and things they need to work with their children at home.”

For more information on the School Readiness Program, go to fcusd.org/page/19607.