Lew Williams Center for Early Learning to open in August

The Lew Williams Center for Early Learning at pTEC St. Petersburg, originally slated to open in January, will begin serving students in August 2014.

The decision to change the opening date, based on multiple factors, was determined to be in the best interest for students and their families.

“We’re eager to open the center because we know the value it will bring to early learning in Pinellas,” said Dr. Michael A. Grego, Pinellas County Schools Superintendent. “However, since this center was first envisioned, all the parties involved have maintained that quality is more important than speed. We want it done right.”

The center, a multi-agency partnership to provide high quality early learning opportunities for 1- to 4-year-olds, has undergone a major renovation. The new timeline will ensure the space meets or exceeds the highest standards for the young students.

The revised timeline will also:
• Ensure that children will not need to change care centers in the middle of the school year.

• Allow current PCS teachers, who may transition to the new center, to complete the school year with their current class to provide continuity for students and families.

• Offer more time for center staff to participate in professional development as a group this summer to build a strong professional learning community, establish processes and procedures for the center, and develop a common understanding for curriculum and instruction.

District officials and representatives of partnering agencies mutually agreed that changing the timeline would best serve students and families.

“We have found common ground in our dedication to providing first rate educational opportunities to Pinellas County’s youngest students. It’s a remarkable feat to have all of these players at the table for the first collaboration of its kind in Pinellas,” said Superintendent Dr. Michael A. Grego. “What is particularly exciting is that once the challenges are met, we will have created a model that can be duplicated for future collaborations.”

The main partnering agencies behind the Lew Williams Center for Early Learning are: Pinellas County Schools, the Juvenile Welfare Board, the Early Learning Coalition and R’Club. Several other local agencies are also supporting the center.