Little chairs and tables, sturdy cribs, and colorful wooden blocks are in place and ready to welcome 80 young learners to Educare DC’s newest early learning school, located inside IDEA. Educators, DC government officials, parents, funders, and other partners gathered on June 22 to celebrate the completion of the center, which will be open to children in August.
“We know that the first five years matter. Our vision for the future is for all children in DC to have access to high-quality early childhood education that unlocks their full potential,” said Educare DC President and CEO Pyper Davis in her welcoming remarks. “Opening this space gets us one step closer to fulfilling that vision. With plentiful opportunities to learn and grow, skilled teachers to challenge and guide them, and wraparound services and family supports, we know children and families will receive the very best here for years to come.” With the addition of the IDEA site, Educare will now serve 424 children, prenatal to age five, across eight sites.
IDEA Head of School and CEO Justin Rydstrom explained that the Educare center represents the fruition of IDEA’s dream to have on-campus early childhood education that both serves families in the community and provides hands-on opportunities for IDEA scholars to study child development. The partnership, Rydstrom said, will help IDEA fulfill its goal of training highly skilled early educators. Rydstrom also noted that bringing young children back into the building echoes the school’s earliest days as the Deanwood School, later renamed George Washington Carver Elementary School, which closed in 1990.
Ward 7 Councilmember Vincent Gray recalled the groundbreaking of EducareDC’s Parkside center 10 years ago, and applauded the creation of another high-quality early learning center in Ward 7. He highlighted the continued need for accessible, affordable child care in the city, made more evident by the pandemic.
The new Educare early learning school made possible with a combination public and private funding, including Early Head Start funding, a loan from Truist Bank, and support from the Bainum Family Foundation’s Early Learning Quality Fund and the Buffett Early Childhood Fund.
Pyper Davis, CEO, Educare DC
Jamal Berry, VP of Programs, Educare DC
Marica Cox Mitchell, Director of Early Learning, Bainum Family Foundation
Sara Mead, Assistant Superintendent of Early Learning, OSSE
Wendy Goldberg, Board Chair, Educare DC
Jessie Rasmussen, President, Buffett Early Childhood Fund
Lakeshia Highsmith, Vice Board Chair, IDEA Public Charter School
Councilmember Vincent Gray
Aime Self, Truist
Bernita Bailey, Truist
Lakesha Jenkins, past Educare DC parent
Justin Rydstrom, Head of School and CEO, IDEA Public Charter School
Pictured wearing masks: Educare DC staff members
Ashley Betlock, Master Teacher
Hannah Urrey, Director of Development
Dianna Washington, Facilities Director
Barbara Ledyard, Director of Operations
Megan David, Development Assistant
Jayda Ford, Program Assistant
Selasi Fynn, Health and Safety Coordinator
Kiyana Morgan, Professional Development Specialist
Torrian Brent, Comprehensive Services Manager
Patricia Dela Torre, Comprehensive Services Director
Marquez Hall, Master Teacher
Michael Truesdale, School Director