Many struggling North Texas households have two parents in the workforce, making early childhood education options vital to growing the local economy—especially in these challenging times. Now Dallas College and the Bezos Academy are stepping in to help.
Dallas College today announced a 10-year lease agreement with the Washington state-based Bezos Academy to open tuition-free, Montessori-inspired preschools at its Mountain View and Cedar Valley campuses in Fall 2022.
Founded by Jeff Bezos, the founder and executive chairman of Amazon, the Bezos Academy has built a network of eight tuition-free preschools in underserved communities in Washington state. The two Dallas College preschools will be the first the academy has announced outside of Washington.
Builds on work by Dallas ISD and multiple foundations
A long list of Dallas agencies and community organizations consulted on the project before today’s announced launch. It builds on early childhood education work made possible by the Dallas College Foundation, The Commit Partnership, Dallas ISD, NAEYC, Early Matters Dallas, PNC Bank Foundation, the Meadows Foundation, the Moody Foundation and many others.
“The need for Bezos Academies in North Texas is significant,” Dallas College Chancellor Joe May said in a statement. “Nearly one in 10 children in America live in Texas, and one in four children in Texas live in North Texas. For most of these children, both parents are in the workforce. The demand for more high-quality early childhood education must be met, and it’s a big reason why we’re so grateful to partner with the Bezos vision in the form of brick-and-mortar schools that will eventually serve countless families in Dallas County.”
No cost to families for kids’ preschool, meals, and more
As part of the agreement, the Bezos Academy will cover operating expenses for the preschool programs at no cost to the families being served, while providing meals and everything else the children need during the day.
“Young learners and their families need access to effective and highly trained early childhood professionals who have a strong understanding of child development and teaching strategies,” said Mike George, president of Bezos Academy, in the statement.
“Dallas College, with its strong commitment to serving the community though education, is an ideal next partner through which we can offer year-round programming, five days a week, for children from low-income families, using a schedule that is beneficial for children’s learning and growth, while also making it easier for working parents,” George added.
Preschools will be in Oak Cliff and Lancaster
The Bezos preschools will be located at the Dallas College Mountain View campus at 4849 W. Illinois Ave. in Oak Cliff and at the Dallas College Cedar Valley campus at 3030 N. Dallas Ave. in Lancaster.
The preschools will follow a full-day, year-round schedule, with multiple classrooms scheduled to open next fall. Before then, the Bezos Academy will be renovating the host buildings.
Early childhood education is another mission for space explorer Jeff Bezos
“The Bezos Academy and the Dallas College School of Education have intersecting missions that place early child development and education at the forefront of where we are headed as a nation,” said Dr. Robert DeHaas, vice provost of the Dallas College School of Education. “Much like Mr. Bezos, who’s charted a path in space exploration while investing in the minds of future generations through education, Dallas College leaders have embraced the need for students and families to access early childhood education—which is critical to strengthening the future workforce of our region and our nation.”
Families who earn up to 400% of the federal poverty level with children ages 3 or 4 will be able to apply for admissions to the preschools. Admissions preference will be given to foster children, as well as children experiencing homelessness. When the schools’ opening dates are set, more information and an application to the lottery-based selection process will be posted at bezosacademy.org.
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