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EPS, Northwestern to Create Early Childhood Program


Posted Date: 06/04/2015

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Enid Public Schools and Northwestern Oklahoma State University are announcing a partnership that will create an early childhood learning lab on the college’s Enid campus, located at 2929 E. Randolph.

The lab will feature a pre-kindergarten classroom for 22 students as part of EPS’ four-year-old program. Northwestern students will have the opportunity to volunteer, observe and learn in the classroom as they prepare for careers in education, psychology and other fields.

Enrollment is now being accepted for the 2015-16 program which will begin in August.

“Northwestern is a longtime partner with Enid Public Schools, and it is exciting to begin a new program that will be mutually beneficial for both organizations,” Chris Smith, EPS early childhood director, said. “Our students will have a wonderful place to learn and their students will have real life experience in the classroom. With the teacher shortage in Oklahoma, we are especially happy to connect and help grow the next generation of educators.”

Dr. Janet Cunningham, university president, believes the program will also be a tremendous asset for Northwestern.

“The early childhood lab is an exciting new venture that will provide numerous learning opportunities for our students,” Cunningham said. “We are excited about the opportunity to grow our partnership with Enid Public Schools and pleased to be able to open up our campus for this lab.”

Families interested in enrolling their children in the four-year-old program are encouraged to visit the new EPS Welcome Center, located at 500 S. Independence, weekdays between the hours of 8-11:30 am and 12:30-3:30 pm.

Students must be four years old by September 1, 2015 to participate. Enrollment is limited and will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. If a student has already enrolled at another EPS school, parents should contact Smith at 580-366-8600 if they want to request a change.

Like all EPS four-year-old classes, the Northwestern program will focus on the developmental social, academic, physical and emotional needs of students. Its schedule will follow the EPS district calendar. The program will be located on the university’s first floor. Special drop-off arrangements will be made for the students, and a playground will be added for their use.

District-wide, EPS serves more than 8,100 students in a supportive community of 50,000. The district recently completed $99 million of renovations and construction across the district, including the addition of two new elementary schools and a $6.5 million University Center on the Enid High School campus.

EPS promotes innovative learning and the use of technology, providing iPads and SMARTBoards for classrooms and teachers, even for its youngest four-year-old learners. The success of its schools, including its early childhood program, has been featured in five national magazines in recent years.

Northwestern is a comprehensive regional university serving more than 2,200 students and has been nationally recognized for academic quality and affordability. The university’s Enid Campus was opened in 1996 and offers both undergraduate and graduate programs.

For more information:
Amber Graham Fitzgerald, Enid Public Schools Director of HR & Communications
arfitzgerald@enidk12.org or 580-366-7000
Steven Valencia, Northwestern Associate Vice President for University Relations
sjvalencia@nwosu.edu or 580-327-8478