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.
Jean Cook, APR
Chief of Communication
Public Information Officer