Program Organization and Components
Figure 1 displays the organization of the CPC program. Several photographs of the centers are shown in the community overview. Each center is directed by the Head Teacher who is responsible for all aspects of program delivery. The program is implemented in a separate building in close proximity to the feeder elementary school or in a wing of the elementary school. The Head Teacher reports directly to the principal of the feeder elementary school, which is the location of the primary-grade component (CPC expansion program). The centers have their own budgets and administrative operations.
The Head Teacher coordinates the child education program, parent involvement, community outreach, and health & nutrition services. Each center also includes the Parent- Resource Teacher who implements the parent program in the parent resource room, and the School-Community Representative who conducts outreach activities in the neighborhood as well as home visits. Classroom teachers also enjoy the help of teacher aides and parent volunteers. Finally, a clerk and janitor also are available as are nurses, speech therapists, and other staff from the feeder elementary school.
Seven major features of the program are highlighted below, and they are believed to be critical to the total success of the program. The curriculum and parent programs are highlighted below.
- A structured and diverse set of language-based instructional activities designed to promote academic and social success. The centers use the Chicago EARLY (Chicago Public Schools, 1988) as a common activity guide.
- Low child to teacher ratios in preschool (17 to 2) and kindergarten (25 to 2) in order to provide more intensive and individualized learning.
- A multi-faceted parent program that includes participating in parent room activities, volunteering in the classroom, attending school events, and enrolling in educational courses for personal development, all under the supervision of the Parent-Resource Teacher.
- Outreach activities coordinated by the School-Community Representative including resource mobilization, home visitation, and enrollment of children most-in-need.
- On-going staff development for all center personnel
- Health and nutrition services including health screening, speech therapy, shared nursing services, and free breakfasts and lunches.
- A comprehensive school-age program from first to third grade supports children's transition to elementary school through (i) reduced class sizes (to 25 children), (ii) the addition of teacher aides in each class, (iii) extra instructional supplies, and (iv) coordination of instructional activities, staff development, and parent-program activities by the free-standing Curriculum-Parent Resource Teacher.