The Ascension Parish Ready Start Community Network consists of 19 school based early childhood sites, including 1 Head Start Center, and 28 Type lll community based early learning centers. The October 1, 2023 child count showed that the community network served 1, 940 children from ages birth to 4 years old with public funding. Of those served, 19 children were in foster care, none were homeless, and 137 were dual language learners. Demographic information shows that we served 830 black, 860 white, 9 Asian, 126 Bi-Racial and 72 students of other races. 164 students were of Hispanic/Latino ethnicity. October 1, 2023 child count data shows that the network served a total of 1,030 publicly funded children aged birth to 4 years old. 1,131 children were served in Type III community based Early Learning Centers and the remaining students were served in 19 public school sites and one Head Start Center. CCAP, B-3, and NSECD funding was used in community-based child care centers, while the remaining funding sources were utilized in school based sites.
As of December 31, 2023, the network received and processed 1,802 applications for the 2023 – 2024 program year (CCAP applications were not processed through the network). The chart below shows the total number of children that were determined eligible and placed in a seat increased from 889, as recorded on the official October 1st child count, to 976. There was an increase of 3 infants, 4 one-year-olds, 4 two-year-olds, 13 three-year-olds, and 63 four-year-olds (41 of which were tuition paying children in public schools placed using a sliding scale to fill empty seats that were not publicly funded).
Our overall classroom quality rating for the network is Proficient, showing a decrease from 5.10 to 4.92 over the past four years, with 94% of our school-based sites and 62% of our early learning centers scoring proficient or higher.
100% of our sites, including both school-based and community based early learning centers use an approved Tier 1 curriculum. 90% of our school-based teachers are fully certified, with the remaining 10% holding at least a bachelor’s degree and currently enrolled in an alternative certification program. 51% of our early learning centers employ staff with Child Development Associate (CDA) credentials and currently employ 10 staff members enrolled in an accredited Early Childhood Ancillary Certification program.
Goal 1: By the end of the 2024 - 2025 school year, we will increase access to high quality early childhood education for birth to four-year-olds by increasing the number of publicly funded seats to meet 100% of the family demand by expanding access to quality early learning in Donaldsonville and closing access gaps for children aged birth to 4 in early learning centers and school sites parish-wide
Goal 2: By the end of the 2024-2025 school year, we will improve the quality of our early childhood network by increasing the network’s overall performance rating from proficient to highly proficient
Goal 3: Improve Teacher Recruitment, Retention & Advancement in Early Learning so that 100% of our classrooms are staffed with highly qualified teachers and paraprofessionals/teaching assistants.
Goal 4: Identify and reach traditionally underserved populations and provide expanded family support to at risk families.
Goal 5: Increase opportunities to identify and provide research-based interventions that foster development of executive functioning and language/ literacy skills by implementing a universal developmental screening plan for children ages birth to four.