Tulsa, OK – Tulsa Educare, Inc, Tulsa Public Schools and George Kaiser Family Foundation celebrated the start of construction on the city's third Educare school during a ceremony on Tuesday. The opening of the third school will make Tulsa the only city in the nation with three schools and Oklahoma the only state in nation with four Educare schools. The third Educare school is scheduled to open in August 2012.
The new 38,000-square-foot school will have 16 classrooms and meeting and training facilities. The new school will also have a geothermal system providing efficient heating and cooling.
"Early childhood education is an important part of efforts to develop the skills students need to become successful in life," said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi. "Oklahoma is a leader in early childhood education, and it is exciting that this work can be continued through the opening of a new center where even more children can learn their fundamentals."
Tulsa Educare, Inc. was created to provide high-quality early childhood education and care to low-income families living in Tulsa and currently serves 364 children in two state-of-the-art community schools, providing a range of educational and family engagement opportunities for parents and children 6 weeks through 5 years of age.
"Our state is a leader in early education as a result of outstanding organizations like Educare," said Secretary of Education Phyllis Hudecki. "It is my hope that Oklahoma continues to lead the nation and serve as a model for successful public-private partnerships in early education."
Mayor Dewey Bartlett and Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Keith Ballard was also on-hand for the celebration. TPS is the lead funder of Educare III.
"Tulsa Public Schools is dedicated to reaching children very early in age to tap into their full potential and better prepare them for adulthood," said Ballard. "TPS is proud to partner with Educare to provide children with a high-quality education, including year-round programming and bachelor-degreed teachers who utilize evidence-based curriculum to ensure school readiness. I can think of no better investment that we can make in the Tulsa community than in early childhood education."
TEI is part of a national network of agencies that are attempting to make a difference in the lives of very young, at-risk children and their families through strong public-private partnerships. Educare supporters create, provide and promote the highest quality outcome-based learning environments for families and their children. George Kaiser Family Foundation is the lead funder of Educare I and II and is jointly funding Educare III with TPS and the State of Oklahoma.
"We are proud to partner with TPS and Tulsa Educare to provide children in the Tulsa community with the highest quality of education and the best opportunity for success in life," said Ken Levit, executive director of George Kaiser Family Foundation. "Educare helps support GKFF's mission of breaking the cycle of poverty through investments in early childhood education."
Architect and construction firms involved in the project include Kinslow, Keith & Todd, Inc., RDG Planning, Crossland Construction Company, Inc. and Stonebridge Group.