PUSD Preschool adds Elevate Pre-K program

The ribbon cutting ceremony for the opening of Elevate Pre-K included (from left) Kay Leum, executive director of extended learning at Coconino Community College; Beth Giacalone, program director of Northern Arizona Programs; Cheryl Mango-Paget, Coconino County superintendent of schools; Page Mayor Bill Diak; Scott Pettit, Worten Foundation manager; Jillyn Anderson, PUSD preschool director; Penni Case, PUSD exceptional student services director; Lorie Frisby, classroom lead; and Dr. Bryce Anderson, superintendent of Page Unified School District.

Page Unified School District added a new preschool program last Wednesday called Elevate Pre-K.    

Elevate Pre-K is targeted toward 4-year-old children living in households with incomes between 101-250% of the federal poverty level and who are not currently enrolled in school. In essence, it’s for families with incomes too high so they don’t qualify for other low-income sources or revenue, yet they don’t make enough money to afford outside child care. 

Elevate Pre-K is designed, in part, to be a tool to help working families with young children return to the work force. One of the key components of the Elevate Pre-K program it that students are in school from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. The program is also year-round. This differs from PUSD’s preschool, which runs from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Friday. PUSD’s preschool also closes during the summer months on the same schedule as the rest of the school district.

“This allows working parents with young children a chance to return to the work force, knowing that their child is in a safe, caring environment,” said Beth Giacalone, program director of Northern Arizona Programs. “Because of the families’ incomes, they don’t qualify for Headstart or Department of Economic Security (DES) subsidies, and they don’t bring in enough income to afford private child care.”

This is Elevate Pre-K’s third year in operation and its first time in Page.

“We were looking for a location in Page to open a classroom, and Cheryl Mango-Paget [Coconino County superintendent of schools] mentioned that PUSD might be a good partner. After talking with them, it ended up being perfect,” Giacalone said.

Page’s Elevate Pre-K will have 18 students, three teachers and a consistent substitute. 

“We offer family wrap-around services to make sure they also have resources in other ways, and we use evidence-based curricula and experienced teachers,” Giacalone said. “The overall goal moving forward is to support the infrastructure to make sure that all 4-year-olds in Page can have a high-level preschool experience.”

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