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  • Get Nichols, center, assistant superintendent of elementary education for Fort Wayne Community Schools, announces a partnership between FWCS and United Way to expand On My Way Pre-K in the district.

  • Photos by Chad Ryan | The Journal Gazette
    Keith Henning ,5, looks through a set of toy binoculars on Wednesday in the pre-K classroom at Adams Elementary School during a news conference.
March 16, 2017 1:03 AM

FWCS joins On My Way Pre-K program

FWCS joins On My Way Pre-K program

Ashley Sloboda | The Journal Gazette

With a noisy Adams Elementary School pre-K class in the background, representatives from Fort Wayne Community Schools and the United Way announced Wednesday the district will be an On My Way Pre-K provider for 2017-18.

“We are thrilled with this partnership,” said David Nicole, president and CEO of United Way of Allen County.

The organization is the lead agency for the state’s preschool pilot program in Allen County, which is one of five participating counties.

FWCS, which already offers pre-K to more than 800 students in 19 buildings, is excited to join Indiana’s program, Assistant Superintendent-Elementary Get Nichols said. She said it aligns with the district’s mission of educating all students to high standards.

The district will have eight On My Way Pre-K spots available each at Adams and Bloomingdale elementary schools in the fall. The district hopes to expand to other schools, Nichols said.

Families must meet certain income guidelines, and children must be 4 on Aug. 1. Applications are due March 31.

Any qualifying family may apply, regardless of residency, for On My Way Pre-K. For FWCS Title I pre-K programs, the family must live in the school’s attendance area.

Nicole said it is “tremendous” to have the power of FWCS – the largest pre-K provider in the community – behind the state program.

In Allen County, he said, about 1,500 to 1,600 4-year-olds are eligible for On My Way Pre-K, which has served more than 500 children so far. A total of 214 children were enrolled in 43 programs this academic year.

In 2016, $42,000 was awarded to providers through United Way Capacity Building Grants, and 15 recipients got grants ranging from $880 to $5,000 to increase their Paths to Quality level.

FWCS has been working with the Indiana Department of Education and the Family & Social Services Administration since the start of the school year to secure Level 4 Paths to Quality certification and to become eligible to provide On My Way Pre-K.

The district’s pre-K programs are accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, except for Bunche Montessori Early Childhood Center. That is accredited by the American Montessori Society.

Call 211, text “prek” to 59769, or go to for information, which also will be available at pre-K registration at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Adams and Bloomingdale.