Press Release for Wednesday, July 31, 2002

Department of Education announces $3.1 million grant

JACKSONVILLE – An early childhood literacy program based at the Florida Institute of Education (FIE) at the University of North Florida is one of only seven programs nationwide selected by the U.S. Department of Education to participate in its Preschool Curriculum Evaluation Research (PCER) project. These grants will help determine for the first time which preschool programs work best for which children.

The $3.1 million grant to FIE , a statewide research center hosted by UNF, will be used to carry out a four-year longitudinal study and evaluation of the Early Literacy and Learning Model (ELLM) project launched by FIE in collaboration with UNF’s College of Education and Human Services.

The intent of the Department of Education initiative is to identify quality preschool programs and develop a means to help parents and school systems make informed choices about classroom programs, especially those for at-risk children.

“We are pleased and excited that the ELLM program was selected to help answer these important questions for decision-makers across the country. ELLM and programs like ELLM provide us with an opportunity to ensure all children come to school with the skills and knowledge they need to learn and be successful, “ said Dr. Cheryl Fountain, principal investigator for the grant and executive director of the Florida Institute of Education.

The ELLM program currently is being used in approximately 200 classrooms involving about 3,000 children in Northeast Florida. With the awarding of the grant, an additional 500 children from low-income families in 50 classrooms in three counties will participate in the ELLM program. There will be 10 sites in Duval County, 10 sites in Bay County and 30 sites in Miami-Dade.

Other funded proposals include projects at University of California-Berkley; University of Texas, Houston; Purdue University; University of New Hampshire; Vanderbilt University and the University of North Carolina-Charlotte.

For more information contact Dr. Cheryl Fountain, Dr. Madelaine Cosgrove or Dr. Janice Woods at the Florida Institute of Education 620-2496