For Immediate Release: March 9, 2023
JACKSON, Miss. – The Mississippi State Board of Education (SBE) voted today to add three new early learning collaboratives (ELC) to the current list of 35 to provide high-quality early childhood education pre-K programs to 4-year-old students.
This ELC expansion is made possible by $2.1 million in state funds to be used by June 2025. State funding for the ELC program has steadily increased over the years starting with a $3 million appropriation in 2013-14 when the program began to $24 million for the 2022-23 school year. The total state appropriation for the ELC program so far is $78 million.
The new ELCs are:
- Holly Springs Early Learning Collaborative
- Lee County Early Learning Collaborative
- Ocean Springs Early Learning Collaborative
The three new ELCs will serve 260 pre-K 4-year-olds in five new classrooms and eight existing classrooms. Through state funding more than 6,800 total ELC students will be served in the 2022-23 school year.
An additional funding opportunity for school districts, local Head Starts, licensed childcare centers and private or parochial schools to join the ELC program will be advertised in a few weeks at mdek12.org/PN/RFP.
The Early Learning Collaborative Act of 2013 established the ELC program, which provides funding to local communities to establish, expand, support and facilitate the successful implementation of quality pre-K early childhood education and development services. The main goal of establishing ELCs is to better prepare preschoolers for kindergarten.
In spring 2022, 65.12% of ELC students met the end-of-year target score, compared to 61.53% of students in other public pre-K classrooms, which included a variety of class configurations, including Title I, self-contained special education and other school district pre-K programs.
In 2022, the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) recognized Mississippi as one of only five states that met all quality standards for pre-K.
Find all MDE news releases at mdek12.org/news.
March 21, 2023 UPDATE: The Ocean Springs School District school board declined to accept the ELC grant so will not open an Early Learning Collaborative at this time.