A local school district was one of 16 districts to receive a planning grant from the Iowa Department of Education.
The Centerville Community School District was the recipient of the Blended Early Learning in Educational Foundation (BELIEF) grant. The grant awards up to $10,000 to public school districts to explore the development of blending child care and quality early learning programs in the community.
The purpose of the BELIEF grant is to support school districts working with community partners in developing plans to start evidence-based, customized early child care and preschool programs for children under the age of five. The grants can be used to cover costs associated with training and planning, such as travel expenses, communication and outreach services, transportation costs associated with multiple service locations as well as the cost of substitute teachers, so team members can attend training and planning sessions.
Centerville Schools Superintendent Tom Rubel credits Lakeview Elementary Principal Julie Caraccio for the district receiving the grant.
Caraccio says she gathered information and played a part in writing for the BELIEF grant. Now that the district secured the grant, Caraccio says she and her colleagues can travel to see other models of preschool programs.
Caraccio talked about what she hopes to learn from these trips.
“Just to provide the state of the art programming that we’re looking forward to bringing to Centerville and to continue to grow our early childhood centers and programs.”
According to the Iowa Department of Education, funds for the BELIEF grant came from the American Rescue Plan of 2021 and the Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund.