Peoria Unified’s preschool partnership with Glendale Community College, Early Childhood Education Lab, received a first-place award in the collaboration category for the Arizona School Boards Association Golden Bell Promise Program.
The preschool team was recognized at the 64th annual Arizona School Boards Association — Arizona School Administrator Annual Conference on Dec. 16 for this award.
The Golden Bell Awards recognize school initiatives that have demonstrated outstanding student growth and success. To win, the program needs to be student oriented, demonstrate leadership and a commitment to educational equity with excellent outcomes for all students.
“We could not be more pleased of the incredible opportunity to highlight this collaboration that we know has a lasting impact on a child’s early educational career,” shared Dr. Jason Reynolds, superintendent for the Peoria Unified School District.
“It is strong partnerships, like the one we have with Glendale Community College, that allow us to contribute to the vibrant quality of life in Glendale and Peoria and impact our future generation.”
This model differs from most of Peoria Unified’s preschool classrooms, which has a certified or special education lead teacher supported by instructional assistants.
In the GCC program, there is one certified lead teacher with a master’s in teacher leadership and instructional assistants who take the lead in the classrooms.
This allows individuals working toward a degree in early childhood education to develop and implement the skills they are learning in the college classroom. Offering a high-quality, affordable child care program aims to help completion rates for GCC students and provides a pipeline to the district for potential new employees.
The college provides the physical space for the program, and the district provides the services. Peoria Unified’s Food and Nutrition Department prepares and delivers meals and snacks for the students at no charge to the program, and the college provides custodial and maintenance services. This is a true collaboration that began with two organizations entering into an IGA, and children, ages 18 months to kindergarten entrance, can all benefit and thrive.
Videos of award winners can be viewed on the ASBA YouTube page.
Celebrating the Golden Bell Award are, from left, Dr. Jason Reynolds, Peoria Unified School District superintendent; Dr. Theresa Leyba-Ruiz, GCC president; David Sandoval, Peoria Unified School District Governing Board president; Megan Molina, Peoria Unified School District lead teacher, GCC Early Childhood Lab; Dr. Debbie Pischke, Peoria Unified School District preschool director; Tina LeBaron, GCC faculty, early childhood/child and family studies; Dr. Susan Campbell, GCC dean of instruction, career and technical education; and Gina Weatherly, GCC faculty, early childhood/child and family studies. Photo courtesy of Peoria Unified School District