New Educare Flint school to benefit children, families and community

Educare Flint “is such an amazing opportunity for the community,” said Breyanna Chism, a parent of 3-month-old girl enrolled at the school. “This gives families a voice. This is what my child deserves—a wonderful building with great staff members. This is what every child in Flint should experience.”

Chism joined community partners, elected officials, and school supporters and staff to celebrate the grand opening for the new school in Flint, Mich., on Monday, December 11.

Educare Flint, the first Educare school in Michigan and 23rd school across the country, opened its doors to parents and families on December 4. The 36,000-square-foot school on the grounds of Durant-Tuuri-Mott Elementary, will provide quality early education for around 220 young children from birth to age 5, programs and resources for families, and spaces for adult learning and training.

Ensuring children have high-quality early learning

Educare Flint was launched by community partners as part of an urgent effort to increase access to early childhood education for young children and families in the wake of the Flint water crisis.

The state of Michigan is playing a critical role in the effort. To help Flint families recover from the water crisis, the state piloted a project to support children’s free participation in high-quality, all-day, all-year early education programs.

“I am committed to ensuring that Flint children have access to high-quality early education services so that they can reach their full potential,” said Lt. Gov. Brian Calley. “Flint is stronger when everyone works together,” he said, thanking partners and the whole community for making this project a reality.

The school will link students, their families and other residents with community-based services. And by offering professional development opportunities to all early learning and child-care providers in Flint, the school will help to strengthen the quality of early care throughout the community.

Making an impact beyond the school

Educare Flint shines a spotlight on the need for expanded early childhood programs for local children and families. School partners will also join state and local advocacy efforts to increase access to high-quality early learning.

US Rep. Dan Kildee attended the grand opening and said he was “blown away” by Educare Flint and recognized the value of early childhood education.

“Investment in children pays off,” Rep. Kildee said. “If you change the life of a child, you change the trajectory of a family, you change the quality of the neighborhood and you transform the kind of city we live in.”

“I’m excited by not just what students at Educare Flint will learn but also what all of us will learn,” said state Sen. Jim Ananich. “Educare Flint is committed to providing data that will inform sound policies.”

Being a platform for policy and systems change is an important part of Educare.

“The Educare approach extends beyond the classroom to help children, families and communities thrive,” explained Cynthia

Jackson, senior vice president of the Educare Learning Network. “Educare Flint joins our national efforts to advance knowledge about effective early education practices and policies, and to drive greater demand for high-quality programs across the country.”

Partnering for the community

“All of the partners who helped to make Educare Flint a reality are motivated by a single, simple belief that all children deserve an equal chance to succeed,” said Ridgway White, president of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. “The school will play an important role in efforts underway to improve the quality and variety of educational opportunities available to Flint kids—from cradle to college and career.”

Lisa Hagel is superintendent for the Genesee Intermediate School District, which operates Educare Flint. She said the model’s emphasis on engaging parents and caregivers has long been central to her own views on education.

“Strong partnerships are an integral component of successful early childhood education,” Hagel said. “As we continue to build on these collaborations, using Educare Flint as a model, children across our entire community will benefit for years to come.”

In addition to the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and Genesee Intermediate School District, other partners include the Community Foundation of Greater Flint, Flint Kids Learn, Flint Community Schools and the University of Michigan at Flint.

“Educare Flint is a wonderful example of the good that can be accomplished when partners from different sectors with different expertise come together to invest in a better tomorrow for our kids,” said Isaiah Oliver, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Greater Flint. “We’re excited to see the difference this school will make for all children in Flint.”

View photos of the Event.

Photo credit: Rick Smith