LA PLATA, Md. (Nov. 16, 2009)—Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Congressman Steny Hoyer and Maryland State Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick are visiting C. Paul Barnhart Elementary School today to discuss the importance of early learning and full-service community schools. Barnhart is one of three elementary schools in Charles County with a successful Judy Center, which provides comprehensive services for Title I school children from birth through kindergarten and their families.
The visit highlights the need to expand full-service community schools across the nation and to reach more children. Hoyer, along with Sen. Ben Nelson, recently introduced the Full-Service Community Schools Act of 2009. The bill would provide $200 million per year for five years to fund grants for local partnerships between school districts and community-based organizations, which is the Judy Center model.
Judy Centers were established with a $7 million grant in 2000 through Senate bill 793 to provide comprehensive services such as career counseling for parents, health services, nutrition services and early childhood education in order to give children a full support network to help them succeed.
Duncan, Hoyer and Grasmick will tour Barnhart with Charles County Public Schools officials to view the services offered through the Judy Center to students. Included in the tour are visits to a kindergarten physical education class and computer lab, kindergarten tutoring, a behavioral health lesson in Good Choice/Bad Choice, a prekindergarten physical activity and a three-year-old cooking activity with parents. All the programs blend the services of the Judy Center with the regular school program.
The national officials will also speak with community partners such as the Department of Health, the Charles County Public Library, county agencies and businesses who provide support to children and families through the Judy Center.
Judy Centers are named for Judith P. Hoyer, Congressmans Hoyers late wife and an early childhood advocate and former Supervisor of Early Childhood Education for Prince Georges County. Charles County Judy Centers are considered models of the full-service schools success. The first Judy Center in Charles County Public Schools was established at Dr. Samuel A. Mudd Elementary School in 2001, and was expanded to include Eva Turner Elementary School in 2002 and Barnhart in 2004.
Some of the programs the Judy Centers offer for children and their families include: tutoring for three-year-olds, prekindergarten and kindergarten children; parent and provider workshops; childcare tuition assistance; dental services; vision and hearing screenings; behavior management; family field trips; monthly story time at Borders Books; English/Spanish story time; family nights and more. The Charles County Judy Centers work with 31 community partners to provide services.
Source: Charles County public school system