SIDNEY — Sidney City Schools’ Whittier Early Childhood Center receives the State of Ohio’s highest rating — five stars.
After countless hours of paperwork submission, classroom observations, and document completion by the entire Whittier Early Childhood Center (WECC) preschool staff, Sidney City Schools is proud to announce WECC has earned the distinction of being a Step Up to Quality five-star rated early childhood program.
“WECC is proud to be a five-star program. From birth until the start of kindergarten there are approximately 2000 days and every day matters. It is important to us that children develop their self-confidence, social and emotional skills, and a love of learning,” said Beth Abbott, student services coordinator.
WECC offers four-day integrated programs for students with special needs and typically-developing students who serve as peer models. At the end of the 2020-21 school year, Whittier Early Childhood Center was serving 275 students. Of the total number of students at Whittier at the end of this last school year, 128 were students with disabilities. Approximately 125 of those who attended last year will be transitioning to kindergarten in the fall.
“Earning the Step Up To Quality five-star rating signifies that we are providing a comprehensive, developmentally appropriate, and safe learning environment for our young learners to grow,” said Abbott. “We have high quality staff who genuinely care for our children. Stars aside, I am proud of the impact we’re making in our community.”
Step Up To Quality (SUTQ) is a five–star quality rating and improvement system administered by the Ohio Department of Education and the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. SUTQ recognizes and promotes learning and development programs that meet quality program standards that exceed licensing health and safety regulations. The program standards are based on national research identifying standards which lead to improved outcomes for children.
Step Up To Quality uses a quality rating and improvement system for early learning and development programs. Programs can earn a one-, two-, three-, four- or five-star rating by meeting Ohio’s quality program standards. Achieving a five-star rating means that Whittier’s preschool program has demonstrated a level of quality that meets all the requirements.
Here are some examples of the level of quality related to the five-star level:
• Administrators and teachers demonstrate the value of ongoing professional development by completing more than the required 20 hours of specialized training every two years.
• The needs, interests and abilities of children are the basis for developing experiences and activities.
• Teachers use child assessment results to plan activities and make changes to their classroom to best support learning and development goals for each child.
• Program has an active and organized parent volunteer group.
• Families and community partners’ input is used to inform the program’s continuous improvement process.
• Programs work collaboratively with families to share assessment results, create goals for children and develop plans to support children as they transition to a new classroom or educational setting.
• Programs work with other organizations or businesses within the community to support children and their families.
• Lower teacher/child ratios.
• Program is accredited by an approved organization.
“Earning the five-star rating was our end goal, so achieving that goal by the end of our second year of operation, with the pandemic cutting our first year short and impacting our second year, is really something to be proud of,” added Abbott.
Whittier Early Childhood Center is welcoming new families to the preschool as children turn three throughout the year. To begin the enrollment process, visit www.sidneycityschools.org and click Enrollment (Preschool) in the quicklinks on the left. If you have any questions, please feel free to call Whittier at 937-497-2275. WECC will hold preschool screening dates in July and August by appointment only.