CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte Bilingual Preschool says they are partnering with Thompson Child & Family Focus to create two bilingual MECK Pre-K classrooms serving four and five-year-old children.
The bilingual classrooms will serve children on-campus at Thompson’s Child Development Center on Clanton Road in west Charlotte, according to a news release.
Charlotte Bilingual Preschool officials say the partnership with Thompson will give families the option between remote learning and in-person learning.
Before this development school officials say only in-person learning was reimbursable since Charlotte Bilingual Preschool is located on the campus of Hickory Grove Elementary School, a CMS school that remains closed due to COVID, and the preschool was stuck between two systems with different perspectives about reopening and no ability to serve 72 children.
“We were truly stuck between a rock and a hard place,” Banu Valladares, Charlotte Bilingual Preschool’s Executive Director said. “We appealed to the media because it appeared we were at an impasse and that would have dramatically impacted the families we serve.”
Through advocacy the Charlotte Bilingual Preschool says they caught the attention of Thompson’s president Will Jones, whose agency has provided early education services at its Child Development Center since the beginning of the pandemic for essential workers and other residents in need.
“This is an example of truly a win-win-win for everyone involved,” Jones said. “Charlotte Bilingual Preschool will have an opportunity to provide in-person instruction for the families who choose it, MECK Pre-K is able to demonstrate responsiveness to community voice, and Thompson gets the opportunity to partner with both organizations it has long admired and desired to work with.”
School officials say this partnership will restore funding to 54 out of 72 children supported by MECK Pre-K, and it will help loosen restrictions, allowing the preschool to provide high-quality remote learning to families that choose to stay home.
CMS has also provided some rent forgiveness, though Charlotte Bilingual Preschool say they will have to pay out-of-pocket in order to serve the in-person classrooms and the remaining 18 children by opening a 5th remote classroom.
“This is a clear example of what is possible when system partners and the community work together to meet the needs of our area families,” Valladares said. “Early education is critical to supporting families as they work through the challenges of this pandemic.”