Seattle’s mayor is launching a new program aimed at improving instruction in the city’s preschools. Mayor Mike McGinn announced the initiative in his State of the City address Tuesday.
The Early Learning Academy will provide up to 10 weeks of training for 50 preschool teachers in the first year. It will be paid for by the Families and Education Levy, which was passed in 2011 by Seattle voters.
According to Seattle Office of Education Director Holly Miller, the program would first be offered to teachers who serve low-income children, but would expand as more levy money becomes available.
Currently, the city supports 23 preschools serving primarily low-income students.
Miller says there is a lack of high-quality training available for preschool teachers. The state of Washington sets standards for preschools, but does not provide teacher training.
The Early Learning Academy would provide multiple training sessions for each preschool teacher over the course of a year. The program would continue to support teachers once their training is complete.
The academy is expected to begin enrolling teachers in the fall.