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Dogwood Health Trust awards Jackson County Schools $400,000 for preschool coordinator position

Jackson County Public Schools has been awarded a grant from Dogwood Health Trust in the amount of $400,000. These funds will be allocated for a Preschool Coordinator position, funded for five years.

Dogwood Health Trust exists to dramatically improve the health and well-being of all people and communities in the 18 counties and Qualla Boundary of Western North Carolina. Dogwood leverages knowledge and expertise that can inform and strengthen partners’ work in their strategic priorities. Education is one of Dogwood Health Trust’s strategic priorities,
noted from their website: “We believe education begins at birth and lasts throughout life. Education can be a key to unleash the potential of opportunity for everyone, especially for those whose communities have been marginalized. Therefore, education should be equitable, excellent in its delivery and accessible to all regardless of place, gender, ability, income or ethnicity.”

Superintendent Dr. Dana Ayers says, “One of my priority goals in Jackson County Public Schools is to increase preschool opportunities for families in our community. The role of the preschool coordinator will be invaluable as we grow, track academic progress and partner with teacher training programs. Our community is diverse in ethnicity, socioeconomic status and education. I believe this coordinator role can assist in bridging those gaps for our families and the Jackson County Community.”

Laura Dills, Executive Director of Federal Programs and Elementary Education says, “The growth of our JCPS preschool program over the last two years has been a wonderful development that supports our youngest learners and their families in Jackson County. As we continue to expand and welcome new students and families, the role of a preschool coordinator has become vital to maintaining high-quality learning environments, building additional partnerships within the community, and increasing family engagement all of which are cornerstones of the JCPS preschool program.”

During the previous two years, Dogwood Health Trust has supported Dr. Ayers’ initiative by providing grant funding for the addition of three preschool classrooms (the newest notification having been received on November 15, 2022).To date, Dogwood Health Trust has awarded approximately $910,000 to Jackson County Public Schools.

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