On Thursday, Gov. Nathan Deal and First Lady Sandra Deal today attended a ribbon cutting ceremony for the Georgia Center for Early Language and Literacy at Georgia College. The ceremony followed the Center’s first annual Governor’s Summit on Early Language and Literacy, which included representation from statewide partners and members of the University System of Georgia, the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG), the Georgia Library Association, the Regional Educational Services Association and other county educational teams.
“Today marks a pivotal milestone for both Georgia’s educators and youngest learners,” said Deal. “Early language development and literacy are vital skills for putting our young children on the path to success, and the Georgia Center for Early Language and Literacy will work tirelessly to ensure our educators are equipped with the right tools and instruction to get them there. I am pleased that my AFY 2017 budget allocated funds to bring this center to life and I look forward to working with its governing board members as they foster a positive impact on children, families, educators and communities across our state.”
Deal first announced plans for the Milledgeville center in February as part of his Amended Fiscal Year 2017 (AFY 2017) and proposed FY 2018 budgets. $2.4 million was allocated in the AFY 2017 budget to create the center, with an additional $2.7 million proposed for the FY 2018 budget.
“The better we prepare and strengthen the skills of our teachers, the more capable and confident they will be in diagnosing road blocks to achievement and helping children become successful,” said First Lady Sandra Deal. “The ability to read well and understand the content is the gift that keeps on giving. This priceless gift provides self-confidence and positive life choices. I believe it is the best economic tool we can give to the State of Georgia.”
The Center’s mission to improve Georgia’s literacy rate is founded in research-based practices for children from birth to age eight, providing support to educators in K-3 classrooms, child care centers and preschools through professional learning and training. The Center will work with universities, technical college early childhood education programs, alternative educator preparation programs and other public and private stakeholders to engage the community at large. Current staff and partners have been collaborating with many state agencies with the goal to provide access to and the ability to reach all counties in Georgia.
“We are grateful to Governor Deal for designating Georgia College as the home of the new Georgia Center for Early Language and Literacy,” said Dr. Steve Dorman, president of Georgia College. “We look forward to assisting the Center as it becomes a catalyst for improving the language and literacy skills of young Georgians, which in turn, will lead to an even brighter future for our state.”
In March, Deal announced the creation of the Georgia Center for Early Language and Literacy board, a nine-member governing board comprised of representatives from the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning, TCSG, the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement, the Georgia Public Library Service, Georgia College, the Georgia Board of Education, as well as providers of primary health care and other education advocacy organizations.
“Learning to read and write at an early age sets the foundation for a lifetime of academic success,” said Dr. Kelli Brown, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Georgia College. “By supporting early childhood educators through partnerships and collaboration, the Georgia Center for Early Language and Literacy will put the state at the forefront of empowerment through education.”
For more information about the Georgia Center for Early Language and Literacy at Georgia College, visit www.galiteracycenter.org.