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Congratulations to the Grant County Schools' preschool programs!  All four programs - Crittenden-Mt. Zion Elementary, Dry Ridge Elementary, Mason-Corinth Elementary, and Sherman Elementary - have received the Kentucky All STARS' highest rating for early childhood education programs!

What is Kentucky All STARS?
The Kentucky All STARS rating system was developed as a partnership between the Governor's Office of Early Childhood, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, and the Kentucky Department of Education to assess, improve, and communicate the level of quality in early child care and education.  The rating system is based on Kentucky's Early Childhood Standards and research-based indicators of quality -- and is applicable to all early childhood care and educational programs that receive public funding (including child care centers, Head Start and public preschools.)

As a public preschool, a rating of 3 Stars is the required minimum, but working toward 4 or 5 stars is optional.  According to Heather Clay, Director of Student Instructional Services, each of Grant County's nine preschool classrooms in four separate elementary buildings sought the top rating, "because, very simply, it's good for our students."

Kentucky All STARS rating system is designed to:
--Increase kindergarten readiness
--Publicly recognize each program's strengths
--Create systems of support
--Provide parent/caregiver assurance of quality
--Reduce the amount of funds spent on remediation at later grades
--Increase graduation rates
--Provide opportunities for collaboration

Programs are judged and ranked based upon a number of required and optional standards in four broad domains:
--Family and Community Engagement
--Staff Qualifications and Professional Development
--Classroom and Instructional Quality
--Administrative and Leadership Practices

Studies show that children who attend high quality early learning environments have better math, language and social skills.  "We are most pleased to see our preschool programs receive the 5-Star rating," states Clay.  "It is reflective of the dedicated, highly skilled educators we have in each classroom, and the district's commitment to early childhood education.  We have certified teachers in each classroom who work with excellent assistants to ensure our students receive high-quality learning experiences every day.  They focus not only on the academic skills needed for Kindergarten, but also on developing their social and emotional skills.  With Kindergarten Readiness a focus for our county and state, it is nice to see that students who attend the Grant County Schools' preschools will be better equipped with core skills needed to start their academic career."

Congratulations to the GCS Preschool team!