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NANTICOKE, August 4, 2017 – Senator John T. Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon) announced today that the Pennsylvania Department of Education (“DOE”) awarded a series of education grants in Luzerne County including a $306,000 Pre-K Counts grant to the Luzerne Intermediate Unit (“LIU”) as well as a $119,000 Pre-K Counts grant to Luzerne County Head Start.

“It is never too early for a child to begin learning and these Pre-K Counts grants will start many children on a successful path towards lifelong learning,” said Senator Yudichak. “Research shows that early education programs save school districts money in the long run and yield tremendous dividends for the children.” Senator Yudichak noted that although pre-K programs have been unparralled successes, many children still lack access to these programs because of insufficient funding.

“Without the grant funds, we would not be able to provide 36 children with an opportunity to learn and prepare for the transition into kindergarten,” said LIU Director Dr. Tony Grieco. “Studies continually show that children who attend quality Pre-K programs—before age five— are more likely to read on grade level by the 3rd grade and have increased success in completing high school and entering into post-secondary education and training.”

“In today’s challenging world, we cannot presume to drop children off on the first day of kindergarten and expect them to succeed,” said Lynn Biga, Director of Luzerne County Head Start. “Early childhood education programs properly prepare children for kindergarten and elementary school by equipping them with the skills they will need to thrive.” With the additional grant funds, Luzerne County Head Start will be able to educate 14 additional children. The organization already serves 126 children.

Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts was established by the Pennsylvania Department of Education to reduce financial barriers to starting early education programs to make quality pre-kindergarten opportunities available to children and families across the Commonwealth. As of today, 19,000 three and four-year-old children have benefitted from Pre-K Counts grants.

Senator Yudichak also announced that Luzerne County Community College received a $340,000 Family Literacy grant from DOE. These programs help parents learn the necessary skills to engage in their child’s education, obtain secondary school credentials on their own, and find gainful employment to support themselves and their children.

For more information on Pre-K Counts and family literacy grant programs, visit www.education.pa.gov.
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