Pre-K for Toledo Leadership Team Announced

Friday, February 22, 2019

Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz and ProMedica President and CEO Randy Oostra today announced the creation of a leadership team that will shepherd our community toward implementing quality prekindergarten education for all young Toledo residents.

The leadership team is comprised of the city of Toledo, ProMedica, Toledo Public Schools, Washington Local Schools, the United Way of Greater Toledo, and the Toledo Community Foundation.

“This community has been thinking about, considering, and studying prekindergarten for all Toledoans for a number of years and we have come together to form this implementation group,” Mayor Kapszukiewicz said. “We don’t need any more studies or task forces. It is time to act.”

The mayor added: “Students who have the advantage of attending a quality prekindergarten program develop vitally important emotional, academic, and social skills that they might otherwise lack when entering kindergarten. Pre-K provides a great foundation for kindergarten and we know from extensive research that the importance of preschool is undeniable. Additionally, investment in high-quality prekindergarten generates economic and other benefits.”

People from a diverse variety of 30 organizations meet monthly on prekindergarten in Toledo. That working group has expanded since its first meeting months ago at the United Way downtown. The working group includes the University of Toledo, the Anderson Foundation, the YMCA, the YWCA, Huntington Bank, the Toledo Lucas County Public Library, Lucas County Children Services, and religious community leaders, including the Catholic Diocese of Toledo.

“Access to high-quality preschool programs is a critical indicator and influencer of a child’s future educational success and health outcomes,” Dr. Oostra said. “We are pleased the ProMedica Ebeid Neighborhood Promise is able to support this collaborative effort to make early childhood education available to all our city’s children. By working together to develop a plan that provides our children the greatest opportunity to succeed academically, we can help give our residents the foundation they need to thrive in all aspects of their lives and improve our community as a whole.”

Mayor Kapszukiewicz and Mr. Oostra were joined for the announcement at the ProMedica Steam Plant downtown by Toledo Public Schools CEO/Superintendent Romules Durant, Washington Local Schools Superintendent Susan Hayward, Toledo Community Foundation President Keith Burwell, and United Way of Greater Toledo President and CEO Wendy Pestrue.

ProMedica and the Toledo Community Foundation have also funded two consultants for six months – Linda Dunphy and Dr. Andrew Brodsky. They are both experts who will do an assessment of the community to determine the best model to recommend to the working group based on data and a budget analysis. They should be finished by June, 2019.

Ms. Dunphy has 25 years experience leading, developing, and advancing high impact business and organizational approaches for early childhood/family services on the national, state, regional, and local level. She has cost-modeled early childhood quality rating systems with clients in the Florida, Montgomery County, Maryland, and the District of Columbia. She led the Maryland Women's Business Center Child Care Business Initiative.

Dr. Brodsky is a research consultant specializing in early childhood finance, evaluation, and policy. Over the past 15 years, he has worked with partners across the country to help expand and improve systems and programs for young children. Recent clients include the U.S. Office of Child Care and numerous other national, state, and local organizations.

“The private sector has stepped up to fund this important part of the process – a detailed study of our needs and abilities,” Mayor Kapszukiewicz said. “They will be helping the working group determine how this initiative will be managed, structured, and funded.”

The working group will meet again at 8:30 a.m. Feb. 25 at the United Way building downtown. Dr. Dunphy and Dr. Brodsky will be available for interviews at that time.

All current prekindergarten providers in Toledo will be included in the community discussion to implement quality prekindergarten education for all young Toledoans. A group that includes the YWCA Child Care Resource and Referral program and private daycare providers will meet on Feb. 26.

Watch the news conference here: