By, Teri Jensen-Sellers
On Thursday, June 9th at Montgomery County Community College’s West Campus in Pottstown, the PEAK organization held their fourth annual meeting for educators and social service partners. PEAK stands for Pottstown Early Action for Kindergarten, which academically prepares the communities children ages 3-5 for enrollment in elementary school. PEAK’S motto is “Every child in Pottstown will enter Kindergarten ready to learn and achieve.”
Dr. Jeff Sparagana, Assistant Superintendent for the Pottstown School District was the opening speaker at the luncheon and informed the audience of the great strides the PEAK program is making with early intervention in pre-k education, and that proof is in much improved state tests scores. Next Mary Reik, PEAK Coordinator, spoke about the further success each year brings with the early childhood education program. Several local Pottstown pre-schools are involved with PEAK including: Montgomery Early Learning Center, Pottstown YMCA, Warwick Child Care, and YWCA’s Ready Set Grow. Ms. Rieck also recognized the recipients of mini-grants which are specific monies for their classrooms, one of these educators was Ms. Julianne Dallas of the YWCA site.
The guest speaker was David Lawrence, Jr. of The Children’s Movement of Florida based in Miami-Dade County. Mr. Lawrence talked about the common challenges both his area and Pottstown face in educating their youth. He is a well respected educational activist who discussed the financial disparities between money spent on prison compared to educating pre-school aged children. Sociological research shows that students that are given positive early childhood experiences, both at home and at school are much less likely to be incarcerated. Mr. Lawrence explaining that it costs a lot less to grant everyone a quality pre-school education compared with the expenditures of prison, both financially and societally.(http://www.hks.harvard.edu/inequality/Seminar/Papers/Western.pdf)
Other important guests included Chief of Police, Mark Flanders, Borough Manger, Jason Bobst, Representative Tom Quigley, and other representatives from the Health and Wellness Foundation, The United Way, Pottstown Regional Library and the Pottstown Rotary Club.
For those interested in registering their pre-school children in the PEAK program please call the Pottstown School District at 610-970-6655 for further information.