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Expanding Early Childhood Education at Emma
Expanding Early Childhood Education at Emma
Posted on 08/05/2020
Emily and her mom, Kim, take part in the groundbreaking.By Tim Reaves
BCS Communications Department

Buncombe County Schools (BCS) is expanding access to early childhood education, ensuring kindergarten readiness and preparing students for their tomorrow.

On a rainy Monday afternoon, Verner Center for Early Learning joined BCS and Buncombe County Government to break ground on an early childhood learning center at Emma Elementary School that will provide high quality early learning experiences for children and their families during the first 2,000 days of childhood. Expected to open in early 2021, the center eventually will serve at least 82 children.

“I want to thank all of you for being champions for early childhood education,” BCS Superintendent Dr. Tony Baldwin told the small, physically-distanced crowd and those watching remotely on Facebook Live. “This is a win-win for families and children. Everyone wins with this mission.”

Verner plans to build 10 classrooms on Emma’s campus to serve children from birth to age 5, along with their families. The nonprofit values play, low child-to-staff ratios, and collaborative relationships among families, communities, and schools. Verner staff support families in accessing health and community services, and the nonprofit also offers educational support and mentoring programs to teachers who care for young children.

“This project would not be possible without generous funding from the Buncombe County Commissioners and grants from organizations like the Glass Foundation,” said Verner President and CEO Marcia Whitney. “We make it happen together.”

Other partners include Children First/Communities in Schools, which will help create a continuity of programming for children as they graduate out of Verner and into kindergarten, and the Buncombe Partnership for Children, which will help design an outdoor learning environment and support other aspects of the program.

Along with a new Early Childhood Education program in the Career and Technical Education (CTE) department at North Buncombe High School, the learning center demonstrates a focus by local government and nonprofits to expand much-needed early childhood education access in Buncombe County.

“We want to create a Buncombe County where every single child has an equal opportunity to thrive, where from the day they are born they know they are loved, respected, and they know that the door will be held open for them so that they can become exactly who they’re meant to be in the world,” said Buncombe County Commissioner Jasmine Beach-Ferrara.

For information about current childcare and early childhood education opportunities, visit the BCS ReturnToLearn website.

    Buncombe County Schools is in the process of reviewing its website to ensure compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Buncombe County Schools does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its education programs or activities and is required by Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 and federal regulations to not discriminate in such a manner. This requirement extends to admission and employment. Inquiries about the application of Title IX and its implementing federal regulations may be referred to the Title IX Coordinator and/or the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights in the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education. The Title IX Coordinator's contact information is: Shanon Martin,, 828-255-5918, 175 Bingham Road, Asheville, NC 28806.

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