The new Community Early Learning Center in the former St. Mary School building in Appleton is the focal point for making the most of that potential for children across the Fox Cities.
The 2006 and 2011 Fox Cities LIFE Studies indicated a need for early intervention services for children age 5 and younger, along with more family education. The studies reported a decline in third-grade reading scores and high school graduation rates. The Community Foundation both co-sponsors the LIFE Study and helped guide the planning for the Early Learning Center.
The $2 million renovation seeks to address these education gaps and help five agencies work together better by sharing space in a regional hub for early education resources:
- Project Bridges Day Care
- Outagamie County’s Birth to 3 Early Intervention Program
- Appleton Area School District’s age 4 kindergarten offices and Birth-to-5 programs
- Head Start (education, health and nutrition for low-income families)
- Even Start Family Literacy (literacy, parenting and early childhood classes)
The effort was helped by a $150,000 Community Leadership grant from the Community Foundation, a major grant from the Mielke Family Foundation and grants from the Appleton Education Foundation, Becky and Jon Stellmacher Family Fund, John Bykowski Family Fund, Seifert Family Fund, Doug & Carla Salmon Foundation, and John and Lynn Pfefferle Charitable Fund.