Collaboration Expands Access to High-Quality Early Learning in Fort Worth
The UNT Health Science Center and Lena Pope have teamed up to open a new on-campus child development center in Fort Worth, a news release said.
In addition to serving the children of UNTHSC staff and students, Lena Pope’s new Early Learning Center will serve families from the community and will prioritize 50 percent of available enrollment for children from low-income families.
The on-campus child development center, set to open summer 2018, is part of UNTHSC’s Best Place for All initiative, which aims to create programs, policies and a work environment that increase team satisfaction and engagement. Additionally, the facility aims to fulfill Lena Pope’s goal of expanding access to high-quality early learning experiences for local children and families regardless of income.
“Our goal is to become one of the top places to work in all of Fort Worth, and having affordable, high-quality care for the children of our staff and students is an important step on that journey,” UNTHSC President Michael Williams said in the release. “We selected Lena Pope because of the agency’s proven history of providing quality education, as well as their mission and values.”
Like Lena Pope’s existing, nationally-accredited Early Learning Center, the new center will feature an evidence-based academic curriculum and social-emotional learning model.
“Providing quality and accessible childcare is one of the most critical workforce issues in the United States,” Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price said in the release.
But she then gave the project a shout out during her State of the City address on Tuesday, Feb. 20.
“UNT Health Science Center and the Lena Pope Home announced just this week, a partnership to create on-site, high-quality childcare for students and employees and the community,” she said. “Dr. Michael Williams [head of UNTHSC] and Todd Landry [CEO of Lena Pope], deserve congratulations on that. It will be an immense help for our workforce.”
Teachers will be college graduates, and all meals — including breakfast, lunch and two snacks daily — will be prepared on-site and served family-style. The center’s 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. operating hours aim to meet the needs of working parents. For lower-income families, sliding scale fees will be available.
Creation of the new center comes as Fort Worth leaders ramp-up efforts to improve educational outcomes for young children.
The Center will be located at 3620 Modlin Ave., occupying an existing building currently undergoing around $450,000 of renovations being split by the two organizations. UNTHSC raised $30,000 toward its share of the renovations from employee donations during its 2016 Internal Giving Campaign. Additional donor opportunities to help fund the center are available through Lena Pope.
“We’re pleased this partnership provides a vital service that will allow us to continue helping create hope, happiness and success for families in our community,” Lena Pope CEO Todd Landry said in the release.