Pointe Coupée is making an impact on preparing our youngest children in the early child care centers to succeed in school and life.
Children who begin school behind, generally remain behind. Most brain development occurs before age 5. Early experiences affect our paths to lifelong success. It takes good health, strong families, and positive early learning experiences to nurture healthy brain development and realize our full potential.
Getting a JUMP start on quality early learning and care are key to our early period of growth. It is with these early experiences that we develop our cognitive, social and emotional skills. How we learn, practice kindness and consideration, and how to resolve and adapt.
School Readiness Tax Credits are Louisiana's innovative model for supporting high-quality early learning opportunities for children and families in the early childcare sector. Instead of annual legislative budget re-allocations, eligible businesses can turn their state tax liability into an investment directly toward high-quality early care and education for their community.
How? By qualifying businesses redirecting up to $5,000 annually as a dollar-for-dollar state tax credit donated to a state contracted Child Care Resource and Referral Agency. Nonprofits and business entities with no tax liability can still donate to the program and receive a dollar-for-dollar refund from the state.
Pointe Coupée Early Childhood Coalition, Inc. is one of seven state awarded child care resource and referrals agencies for Louisiana, and the only stand-alone nonprofit organization that exclusively serves a single parish. Our mission is focused solely on birth to four-year-old children and their families in Pointe Coupée Parish, and that they have access to the highest-quality early childhood developmental and educational programs so all are ready for school and life.
The Coalition has a volunteer board of directors, full-time pro bono board chair and three instructional professionals with extensive early childhood experience—certified in all state required training and instructional certifications specializing in infants, toddlers, 3 and 4-year olds. The Pointe Coupee General Hospital Board generously donates office space on the medical campus together with use of the chapel conference room for training and unlimited WIFI access.
Since 2016, $387,500 in School Readiness Tax Credits have been donated from businesses to benefit Pointe Coupée. Not to the state general fund, but directly to the Pointe Coupée Early Childhood Coalition for the benefit of high-quality early education programs for our youngest assets birth to four.
All tax credit donations directly benefit the early care workforce in Pointe Coupée at no cost to the licensed center teachers, directors or administrators. The donations allow the Coalition to provide professional one-on-one and group training to meet state licensing requirements; learning and achievement standards; and professional development for state mandated ancillary teaching certificates and continuing education requirements. The Coalition also provides referral services for families.
Professional Instructor fees to provide weekly Coaching/Mentoring & Certification Instruction assistance amounts to 95 percent.
Tuition-free Group Training Workshops for licensed centers -- Head Start; Catholic Elementary & False River Academy -- is 3 percent.
Materials, books and toys to complement Frog Street curriculum lesson plans and
activities is 2 percent.
A two-fold benefit—developing a viable early care workforce while laying the foundation for our youngest assets to become part of a viable workforce.
Here’s how the investments are working:
- All licensed early care center lead teachers and directors have met state mandated professional Early Childhood Ancillary Certification—In 2015 none were certified; by June 2019 all are either certified with Child Development Associate credentials or enrolled in the Early Childhood Ancillary Certification program at BRCC New Roads
- All licensed centers have improving Department of Education performance profile ratings www.louisianaschools.com
- All licensed early care centers, Catholic Elementary and False River Academy are using Frog Street developmental and educational curricula
While early childhood education has made strides, plenty work remains. The areas in most need of improvement are:
- Continues comprehensive professional development and workshops for early care centers
- Continued growth in center state performance profile ratings to High Proficient and Excellent
- Implementation of a program to reach out to family day care homes—an estimated 600 children birth to four—to provide age and developmentally appropriate materials, planned activities, and referral services. So that all children have a JUMP start to success when entering school.
The solution comes down to redirection of state tax dollars for use on the local level. School Readiness Tax Credit investments will Pointe Coupee Parish programs to continue in a growth mode. The goal for 2019 is $250,00.
For more information on SRTC (LRS 47:6107) eligibility, and how your business and our community can benefit from the program, please consult with your CPA. Donations must be made by Dec. 31.
Note: For more information, contact Julie E. Lee, Board Chair at (225) 718.4275 | firstname.lastname@example.org on behalf of the Pointe Coupée Early Childhood Coalition Board of Directors