News Flash

Summit County Government

Posted on: June 30, 2021

Summit County Receives 2021 Achievement Award for Summit County Pre School Program

Summit County Pre K

County Awarded Best in Category in Children and Youth by The National Association of Counties

Contacts:  Nicole Valentine, Summit County Government Communications Director

SUMMIT COUNTY – Summit County has been awarded the 2021 Achievement Award and honor of Best in Category for the Summit County Pre School Program in the category of Children and Youth by The National Association of Counties (NACo). NACo’s annual Achievement Awards program is designed to recognize county government innovations. Each nominee is judged on its own merits and not against other applications received. 

“Our community has worked hard to ensure that each Summit County child who steps into a kindergarten classroom is ready to learn, because he or she has been part of a quality preschool program during that critical stage of development,” said Commissioner Elisabeth Lawrence. “We are extremely proud of our Pre School Program and honored to receive nationwide recognition.”

The Summit County Pre-Kindergarten Program (SPK) helps to make high quality preschool possible for all 4-year-old children in Summit County, Colorado. New in 2019, SPK is part of Summit County’s Strong Future Initiative. Authorized in 2018, Summit’s Strong Future Initiative is funded by a voter-approved local property tax.

“We are really thrilled to receive the 2021 Achievement Award from NACo. As we continue to award tuition credits for four-year old’s in their last year of preschool, our program strives to serve as an example to other communities that high quality universal preschool can happen nationwide,” said Catherine Schaaf, Program Director. 

The SPK program design is the result of a yearlong planning process led by County Commissioners and key County staff, in collaboration with community leaders, partners and content experts. Summit County’s SPK Program has three objectives:

  • Provide meaningful support for the local workforce by creating affordable access to quality preschool & childcare for 4-year-old children whose parents live and work in Summit County.
  • Ensure that all Summit County children enter Kindergarten ready to learn and succeed.
  • Promote early childhood health and well-being through promotion, prevention, and early identification of special care needs of young children.

Today, the Summit Pre-Kindergarten Program helps to make high quality preschool possible for all Summit County 4-year-olds in the year before they enter Kindergarten. Summit County Government works with several local non-profits and the Summit School District to implement this new program. SPK relies on a strong collaborative model to ensure a high quality and accountable mixed delivery system. 

The SPK Program currently serves close to 150 children and families. Participating families live and/or work in Summit County. Almost 65% of families work in either Retail, Restaurants and Lodging or directly for the Ski Industry. Tuition credit amounts range between $100-$1,603.  The average tuition credit is $715 per month or $8,600 annually. 

“It has meant not just hoping our daughter is ready for Kindergarten, but knowing she is. The SPK program has provided ongoing meaningful communication with her teachers about her relative development,” said a parent of an SPK student. “It has also given our family the chance to break the cycle of working just to pay for child care and needing child care so that we can work. This gives us the opportunity to develop professionally and live as positive examples for our children to see.”

For more information in the Summit County Pre-Kindergarten Program (SPK) visit: https://www.summitk12.org/en-US/school-eb45c0f4

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