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Education center has open house

May 03, 2001

Education center has open house



By TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

BOE president Herb HardenPhoto: JOE CROCETTA / staff photographer

The Washington County Board of Education plans to provide young children an early start on education through two state-funded learning centers.

The school system held an open house Monday at one of the centers, at Bester Elementary School. The other center is at the Washington County Family Center.

The two Judith P. Hoyer Family Learning Centers are named after the late wife of U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md. Judy Hoyer was an early childhood educator in Prince George's County Public Schools.

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"She dedicated her life to the education of young children," said Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington.

Munson, an advocate of the "Judy Centers," said they are a collaborative effort with the County Commissioners and local community agencies.

The Board of Education was awarded a $646,677 state grant, which may be renewed each year through June 30, 2005. The grant was provided by the Maryland State Department of Education.

Nearly 40 percent of the grant money awarded each year will be given to community agencies to provide services at the centers, according to the school board.

About a dozen community organizations agreed to partner with the board.

John Festerman, the Board of Education's director of elementary education, said the commissioners have agreed to pay more than $50,000 a year for the next five years for the salary of the Judy Centers' program officer, John C. Brown.

"We intend to provide you with the best Judy Center program that is available in the state," Brown said.

The board has said the centers will offer full-day, full-year services designed to cultivate physical, social, emotional, cognitive and linguistic readiness for school, particularly from birth through age 5. They will also provide support services for families and adult education and literacy services.

Festerman and Paula Athey, the board's supervisor of early childhood programs, received governor's citations for their work in pursing grant money for the centers.

"We're here to celebrate success," Munson said. "That's what I see; that's what I hear when we talk about a Judy Center."

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