HOWELL – The Howell Township School District has announced they have been awarded the Preschool Education Aid (PEA) grant which will help expand their preschool program.
Howell was one of 27 districts across the state to receive funding to aid their preschool program in the 2022-2023 school year.
On September 8, Governor Phil Murphy and the New Jersey Department of Education (DOE) announced the $26 million in funding, which was apportioned in the FY2023 budget. With these grants, nearly 2,150 additional three- and four-year-old children will have access to a preschool classroom across the state. According to a press release, this will increase New Jersey’s preschool seats to nearly 70,000.
“We know that providing children with access to preschool programs creates short and long term educational and economic benefits for families,” Governor Murphy said. “When we invest in preschool education, we also invest in our youth and in the future success of the State of New Jersey for decades to come. (This) announcement is another step toward universal preschool and a brighter future for New Jersey’s youngest learners.”
For Howell Township School District, they received an amount of $2,286,405 from the PEA grant. Superintendent of Schools Joseph Isola expressed his excitement about the awarded grant in a letter sent out to members of the school community.
“Our district has always been committed to providing high quality preschool to students through researched-based best practice, as we firmly believe intensive, high quality preschool programs can close much of the early achievement gap,” he said.
Isola explained that the money will be used for a five-year plan to serve preschoolers in Howell Township, with its first year beginning this fall.
“As a result of this approval, Howell families will now have increased access to these programs for three- and four-year-old children. Please know, the approval of this grant puts into motion a five-year plan to serve all preschool aged children residing in Howell Township who wish to utilize our programs. Year one of the expansion will launch this fall allowing for a limited number of additional seats to be added to our current
program. Please know that all Howell Township preschool classrooms will now convert to full day and tuition free programming,” Isola said.
“While this information is evolving and planning is ongoing, we felt it important to notify the community immediately of this exciting news. Once finalized, the application process will be announced in the coming days,” Isola added.
According to the DOE, schools who were awarded the grant demonstrated that they can provide a high-quality preschool program to enrolled students. A high-quality preschool program is defined by a “full-day program with a certificated teacher, an aide, and small classes that are inclusive of children with special needs who have an individualized education program.”