USD 253 Receives Significant Donation To Support New Early Childhood Center

Jun 10, 2020 | Messages from the Superintendent

Through the passage of the $78 million bond approved by district voters in November of 2019, a portion of the bond will be used to construct a new early learning center to support our three and four-year-old students.  As a result of ongoing conversations with the Jones Trust, it became evident that further developing and expanding our existing partnership would support the vision and mission of both  USD 253 and the Jones Trust.   Today, it is with a great sense of pride, excitement, and anticipation that we announce Bank of America as Trustee for the Walter S. and Evan C. Jones Testamentary Trust has awarded a multiyear grant in the total amount of $6,000,000 to Emporia USD 253 in support of the Early Childhood Center.   This partnership will combine the existing USD 253 bond money along with the Jones donation to provide our students and families with a wide range of early childhood and community-based services.  As we began the dialogue about what could be accomplished if additional resources were available for this project, it became evident that providing wraparound services combined with age-appropriate learning opportunities for our students would be an asset to our students, families, and community.  We are aware of the important role that providing our students with high quality early learning experiences plays in the long term success of students.  This generous and impactful donation will allow the facility which will be located directly west of Riverside Elementary School on property currently owned by USD 253, to meet a variety of needs including:

  • Space for expanded early childhood services including health screenings and services, food pantry, clothing locker, Infant-Toddler Services, Parents As Teachers, Crosswinds counseling services, and additional space for  future community partners;
  • Housing Mobilizing Literacy, one of our existing partnerships with the Jones Trust, which is providing collaborative community opportunities to support early literacy for children from birth to age 5, community daycare providers, private and public preschool-aged children, and families.  These efforts are guided by a board of community stakeholders;
  • Thoughtful design of the facility to meet the current and future infrastructure needs including common, age-appropriate learning spaces, high wind shelters, and age-appropriate community spaces that will provide support for academic, fine and gross motor skill development, and designed to meet the social and emotional needs of students;
  • The ability to meet the changing landscape of early learning including expansion services.  

We are beyond excited about what this donation means for the students and families of our youngest learners.  The combined vision and commitment to providing a strong foundation for our preschool-aged children will impact our community not only today but for future generations.

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