Mayor Thomas Menino and Boston Public Schools (BPS) Superintendent Carol Johnson recently announced an expansion of early education opportunities in the city, including in Jamaica Plain.
Grant funds will be funneled to several community-based organizations, including the Nazareth Child Care Center in Jamaica Plain, to create new kindergarten classes for four-year-olds, which are called K1 classes.
“We think this is a really great opportunity for our children,” said Brenda Powers, director of Nazareth, a service provided by Catholic Charities at 19 St. Joseph St.
BPS spokesperson Matt Wilder said that the class does not use religion in its instruction. He said that the funding situation is similarly done in the state and is “pretty standard operating.”
“The mayor and the superintendent wanted ways to expand early education programs in the city. This is one way to do it,” Wilder said of the overall program.
Wilder said the funding comes from a variety of sources, including the City’s partnership with the United Way.
Powers said the class will use the same curriculum as the BPS K1 program. She said teachers started receiving training in that curriculum Jan. 28.
The building at 19 St. Joseph St. also houses El Centro del Cardenal Adult Education, which is primarily an English as Second Language program.
El Centro, which has been running there for several years, was recently cited by the City for lacking an occupancy permit, which the organization did not realize it needed. The Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council’s Zoning Committee recommended during a Jan. 24 meeting that the City’s Zoning Board of Appeals approve such a permit.
“It is tremendously gratifying to be able to provide services to people in the community,” said Robert Hibbard, director of El Centro.