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LCECA receives honor

The Lawrence County Early Childhood Academy (LCECA) is the first in Ohio to earn the highest five star rating by Step Up to Quality (SUTQ) at all eleven of its sites in Lawrence County.

With House Bill 487 and Senate Bill 316 passing, early childhood programs that are funded by the Ohio Department of Education and the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services are required to participate in SUTQ, Ohio’s quality rating and improvement system for childcare programs recognizing early care and education programs.

“I think that we have exceeded the expectations of what the Ohio Department of Education and day care regulators require us to do to meet the needs of children to get them ready for kindergarten,” Dr. Sharon Daniels, LCECA director, said.

The eleven sites where the LCECA operates preschool, child care or Head Start are Chesapeake Elementary School, Collins Career Center, Dawson-Bryant, Deering Elentary School, Fairland Preschool, Ironton City Preschool, Ohio University Southern Child Development Center, Proctorville Child Care, South Point Early Childhood Center, Sybene Head Start Center and Symmes Valley Preschool.

SUTQ awards programs based on a number of factors including observations of the interactions of staff and children, learning environment, staff qualifications and staff-to-child ratios.

“It says a lot about our nurturing and caring staff that we have with the children,” Daniels said. “And also the longevity of the children in the program.”

The LCECA serves children from six weeks old all the way to five years old.

“One of the things that’s made us so successful is the continuous relationship with our community partners such as the school districts,” Daniels said. “Each site is unique, but all of the classrooms are in learning centers that are state of the art.”

Supports and incentives are available to assist programs in achieving and maintaining a SUTQ star rating.