Harmony School awarded $30K P-3 grant

Harmony School, in Logan, is seen Thursday, May 14, 2020. (Nick Griffin for The Cullman Tribune)

LOGAN, Ala. – The Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education has awarded a $30,000 Alabama Pre-K–3rd Grade Integrated Approach to Early Learning (P-3) grant to Cullman County Schools to fund two Kindergarten units at Harmony School.

Gov. Kay Ivey and the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education started the official P-3 initiative in 2017.  Harmony School applied for the past two years. It has one First Class Pre-K and expects to receive the grant for a second classroom in June, giving students the opportunity to attend a nationally recognized Pre-K program.  Alabama has ranked no. 1 in Pre-K for the last 13 years.

This is an excerpt from Ivey’s press conference last year:

“Alabama children have reaped the benefits of our nationally recognized First Class Pre-K program, and our P-3 program works to build upon those gains all the way through the third grade,” Ivey said. “As we head into year three of the P-3 program, I’m proud to be funding 41 additional classrooms.  Those early years are vitally important for a student’s future success. By expanding this program even further, we are certainly taking advantage of those valuable years in a child’s learning journey.”

Cullman County Schools Superintendent Dr. Shane Barnette and Harmony School Principal Kevin Sullins have supported program from the beginning. The decision was made to begin by applying for Kindergarten, then first grade the following year and continue applying annually through third grade.

“The grant has given kindergarten teachers a renewed love of teaching,” Sullins said. “They are now able to provide their students with an even more hands-on learning environment that would have taken years of funding to acquire.”

The grant will enable teachers to establish their classrooms with research-based play items that are all developmentally appropriate.  Children learn best through play and hands-on activities. They will have resources and curriculum, along with much training, to implement the new “gold” teaching, learning and assessment program. They are excited to see age-appropriate learning take place. This will benefit the students socially and emotionally.

The goal of the P-3 program, now moving into its third year, is to expand the early learning model from First Class Pre-K (that has been proven to work over and over) through third grade.

The Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education and the Alabama State Department of Education are working together to align instructional practices, assessment and leadership from Pre-K to third grade.