Porter-Leath is thrilled to announce the construction of three additional Early Childhood Academies over the next three years! By building world-class facilities in Memphis’ highest need neighborhoods, we are living our promise to help provide the very best early childhood experience to every child, regardless of zip code or income. We look forward to engaging the parents and stakeholders in each neighborhood in ways to continue improving early childhood education equity and quality for all children.
The new Academies follow the opening of Porter-Leath’s first Early Childhood Academy on Alice Avenue in 2017. With four Early Childhood Academies in Memphis by 2022, we are fulfilling our mission of empowering children and families to achieve healthy, optimal and independent lifestyles.
Construction on the first Academy will begin in 2019 and be complete in early 2021. The second Academy will start in 2020 and be complete in 2021. Finally, construction of the third Academy will begin in 2021, with completion in 2022. In addition to expanding our Teacher Excellence Program to all three locations, Porter-Leath is partnering with the University of Memphis at the second Academy to provide teacher and practitioner training through research, observation and instruction.
Porter-Leath has asked Shelby County Schools' Head Start Policy Council and the School Board to approve the move of Delano Head Start enrollment to the new Frayser Academy, Hanley Head Start enrollment to the second Academy, and Cottonwood Head Start enrollment to the third Academy once construction on each is complete. Porter-Leath and SCS share a commitment to making Shelby County's Head Start program the benchmark for all other Head Start programs in the nation, and we are confident that they will approve the moves. Porter-Leath will fund all three building projects through private dollars and at no expense to SCS.
"Quality programming is best reflected through quality facilities," said Sean Lee, Porter-Leath’s President. "All children and families in our Preschool program get the absolute best in teaching and wraparound services, and we are thrilled to provide new facilities as our next step in creating an equitable, quality early childhood education program in Memphis that will be the leader across the United States. Funding for these buildings is by far the largest gift and private investment in Head Start in Shelby County and is a key indicator of how much impact the program has on our community's future."
Porter-Leath's long-term goal has been to support the turnaround of Head Start in Shelby County. The program was good, but we wanted to make it the best in the US so that children could enter kindergarten ready to learn and then read at a third grade reading level by third grade. Since becoming the sole contractor for Head Start five years ago, Porter-Leath programs and staff have increased innovation, quality, and outcomes for children and families.