All 12 of the Summit Educational Service Center's (ESC) preschool program sites recently received a five-star Step Up to Quality rating from the Ohio Department of Education. This rating recognizes the highest level of quality in educational programming, with evaluation in staff to student ratio, level of administrative qualification, completion of additional specialized staff training and flexibility, and development of lesson plans that support each child's growth.

Summit ESC preschool locations include the following: Cuyahoga Falls, located at the Newberry School; Stow, located at Indian Trail Elementary School; Woodridge, located at three sites, including Woodridge Primary, Maplewood apartments and Honey Locust apartments; Tallmadge, located at David Bacon School; Copley-Fairlawn, located at Herberich Elementary; Nordonia Hills, located at Ledgeview Elementary; Coventry, located at Coventry Elementary School; Field, located at Suffield Elementary; Mogadore, located at O.H. Somers Elementary School; and Manchester, located at Manchester Church of Christ.

"The Step Up to Quality full rating is an extensive process consisting of paperwork, audits, site visits and interviews," said Kim Meeker, Summit ESC's Student Services/Preschool Coordinator. "We are ecstatic that our programs are being recognized for the excellent services they have been offering to districts and families for many years."

Summit ESC's preschool program, services children ages 3 to 5 within the school district of the given site with a focus on developing peers, financially at-risk families, as well as children with special education needs that are deemed eligible for specific programming. In addition to the center-based preschool classrooms, the Summit Preschool program offers itinerant services to special education children attending community preschools within the county, as well as special programming for children with Autism (First Start) and hearing loss (T.A.L.K.), which are both housed at Newberry.

Specifically, preschool classrooms focus on the Ohio Early Learning Content Standards and strive to target the foundational developmental domains, such as language, cognition/pre-academics, motor skills and social-emotional functioning.

"Summit ESC is proud of the hard work that our staff has put into our programming and the Step Up to Quality rating process," said Kristen Nowak, Summit ESC's Student Services/Preschool Coordinator. "These continuous high ratings would not be possible without their dedication."

Registration for Summit ESC's preschool programs for students without special needs will begin in February. If a child is selected for a peer spot, they are asked to attend Registration Round-Up, a screening and registration open house, on April 19. Students on an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or have concerns related to development can contact Brandie Kresowaty, preschool secretary, at 330-945-5600.

For more information on The Summit Preschool Program or to register a child, visit www.SummitESC.org.