Construction of a new early childhood education center on the Durant-Tuuri-Mott Community School campus began today, thanks to $9 million in support from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.
At just over 36,000 square feet, this new education center will feature 18 classrooms, as well as many other community rooms that can be used beyond a regular school day. The center will have a highly-skilled teaching staff and family support specialists, which will link children, their parents, and other residents with any necessary services.
In addition to the C.S. Mott Foundation, the Community Foundation of Greater Flint (CFGF), Flint Community Schools, the Genesee Intermediate School District (GISD), and the University of Michigan Flint are working towards expanding the access to families who need these services. As construction begins, these organizations are also working to secure additional resources and bring in more community partners.
“The Mott Foundation has long supported a continuum of K-12 education, after-school programs, and colleges and universities in Flint,” said Ridgway White, President of the Foundation. “But we recognize that more support is needed to expand access to early childhood education so all children in Flint can have a high-quality educational experience from the cradle through college.”
The C.S. Mott Foundation awarded the $9 million grant to the Foundation for Flint, a supporting organization of CFGF. While GISD will provide the educational programming, UM-Flint will collect data and conduct research to help policymakers understand which practices are most effective. Additionally, the State of Michigan has committed funding to support the children’s free participation, allowing them to attend high-quality education programs that will last all day and all year.
In the fall, the center will serve as many as 220 children. More information about the new center and the application process to enroll a child will be available in the spring.
“We decided to begin construction now, even before we have all of the pieces in place, because Flint kids shouldn’t have to wait,” said White. “While all kids should have access to early childhood education, it’s especially important to help children in Flint overcome the challenges of lead exposure.”