The Promethean Foundation
||is to see every child have the opportunity to reach learning potential from birth
|"...educational excellence in academic and character development..."
INTRODUCTION TO PROMETHEAN
Prometheus, a character from mythology, gave fire to man enhancing man's intellectual awareness. It was the name chosen for this foundation because it describes the intent to bring intellectual awareness to very young children of Obion County, Tennessee. The Promethean Foundation was created in 2004 as a result of the generosity of the Robert E. and Jenny D. Kirkland Foundation. This non-profit foundation is under the direction of The Union City Rotary Club, who is charged with the responsibility of creating a Promethean Board of Directors to govern the mission of the foundation. The foundation serves children birth to five years of age.
It is the mission of the foundation to help "at risk" pre-school children reach their learning potential by providing them with scholarships to cover the entire cost of attending high quality childcare centers in Obion County. The goal of the program is to achieve educational excellence in academic and character development.
- To provide scholarships for qualified "at risk" pre-school children to attend high quality childcare centers
- To increase the quality of education and care at all participating childcare centers in Obion County
- To encourage the use of developmentally appropriate practices in childcare with curriculum activities for academic and character development
- To monitor the environments in the childcare centers to ensure caring, honesty, integrity, respect, responsibility, and self-discipline are modeled
- To measure and evaluate current and long-term progress of scholarship recipients and participating childcare centers
Concepts and Curriculum
Promethean is shortened to Pro-Kids for ease of communication.
The Pro-Kids Academic Curriculum was developed within a framework of seven disciplines. These represent curriculum areas for age two months until entering kindergarten. The curriculum represents the standards for what students should know and be able to do throughout their preschool years to prepare them for kindergarten. The curriculum framework establishes benchmarks for achieving preschool goals. Progress notes, developmental screenings, and parent conferences help assess and document each child's developmental progress per discipline. The academic curriculum encompasses:
- Speech, Language, and Foreign Language
- Early Literacy
- Math, Science, and Technology
- Social Studies
- Creative Arts
- Social and Emotional Development
- Physical and Health Education
The Pro-Kids Character Curriculum was developed to teach six select character virtues. These represent character values that allow the child to successfully relate to self, others, and the environment. The curriculum framework establishes benchmarks for determining evidence of the child successfully understanding acceptable responses to self, others, and the environment.
- Caring - Children care for and understand self, others, and the environment.
- Honesty - Children are trustworthy, truthful, honest, understanding reality versus pretend, using honesty in speech and actions.
- Integrity - Children learn the importance of being reliable, dependable, and consistent, making wise decisions, following through, and showing courage.
- Respect - Children use appropriate language and manners, listening and honoring the feelings of others, following the rules.
- Responsibility - Children set goals and accomplish them, showing accountability for choices.
- Self-Discipline - Children practice self-control, deal peacefully with others, and learn to problem solve.
The Promethean Foundation works with other organizations and individuals to serve the needs of children.
Obion County Childcare Centers:
- Children's Corner
- First Friends
- Kare Bear
- Little Lambs I and II
- Pumpkin Patch I and II
- Small World
- Obion County School System
- Union City School System
- Weakley County School System
- Union City Rotary Club
- University of Tennessee at Martin
- Healthy Start
- Obion County Public Library
- Obion County Health Department
- Tennessee Council on Children & Youth (TCCY)
- Tennessee Departments of Human Services & Children Services (DHS & DCS)
- UT Extension
- Dyersburg State Community College (DSCC)
- Tennessee Early Childhood Training Alliance (TECTA)
- Tennessee Child Care Resource and Referral Network (CCR&R)
- Business and Community Leaders
- Tennessee Association for Children's Early Education (TACEE)
- Tennessee Governor's Books from Birth Foundation, Obion County Reading Railroad
- Tennessee's Early Intervention Service (TEIS)
- Infant Stimulation Program
How Are Scholarship Students Chosen?
Applicants come to Promethean Foundation by recommendation from one of the Community Partners or they apply after hearing about the program from friends and family. The Parent/Guardian completes the application at home and includes information about the child, parents, home and family situation, income, and health. After completing the application, the parent schedules a home visit with the foundation administrator. Not every applicant receives a scholarship, but every applicant is included in the research.
After the home visit is complete, an applicant profile report is developed. It includes information about the child and parents and a short narrative to explain extenuating circumstances that have placed the child at risk. The narrative reflects the conversation between the administrator and the applicant family. What the profile does not include is identifying information about the family. Each applicant is assigned a number for identification and confidentiality.
The next step in the application process is the vote by the board of directors. The board of directors receives each applicant profile by e-mail. They study the information and make independent decisions about the profile in question, voting yes or no to a scholarship. A majority vote decides the results for the applicant in question.
The last step in the process involves the parent of the scholarship recipient choosing a childcare setting for the child. The foundation contracts with high quality childcare agencies in Obion County. The options are varied: faith based, large centers, small centers, for profit, and non-profit. The common denominator for all the centers is their agreement with Promethean to teach our academic and character curriculum for optimum development. Promethean monitors the centers to ensure high quality. If the parent decides to use the scholarship, all expenses are paid to the childcare centers by the foundation until the child enters kindergarten unless the child leaves Obion County, leaves childcare early, or fails to maintain an average of 90% attendance.
Between October 2004 and July 2019, there were 1,966 applicants for Pro-Kid scholarships with 1,752 being approved. Of that number a total of 1,585 children have used their scholarship. The scholarship does not have to be renewed annually, but the Parent/Guardian provides an annual update of information and progress every April.
Promethean evaluates the quality of childcare centers and the progress of children on a regular unannounced basis. Pro-Kids staff visit centers a minimum of four times per year to observe classrooms, scoring each classroom for quality and curriculum alignment. Children's progress is monitored by teachers who use Progress Notes (based on TN-ELDS), and children who are not progressing as expected are observed with recommendations for the child's individual education plans made when needed. In addition to the Promethean evaluation of childcare centers, the state of Tennessee uses the Infant/Toddler Environment Rating Scale-Revised and Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale-Revised to evaluate each center annually during a scheduled visit. The Department of Human Services sends representatives unannounced for a minimum of six visits a year to conduct specific observations. This is a total of eleven scheduled and unscheduled visits in each center to provide oversight observations. Add to that number the unannounced visits our office staff conduct every week while delivering weekly reports, and the result is many opportunities to observe and evaluate the educational environment for children.
When students enter Obion County School System or Union City School System for kindergarten, the Brigance Early Childhood Screening III, K &1 is used to evaluate school readiness. The scores are a valuable benchmark for comparison purposes upon entering the school system.
Pro-Kids' progress is tracked during their school years by collecting state testing scores at periodic intervals during their public-school years. Teachers are surveyed periodically for their assessment of each child's academic progress and character development.
High school 10th grade student surveys and 12th graduation rates are collected annually. After graduation, Promethean hopes to continue to collect information about college and career accomplishments. There is a Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Tennessee at Martin to continue the research and collect data at the end of the program in 2029.
Promethean Board of Directors
Chuck Doss, Chairman
Gary Houston, Vice-chairman
Marty Sisco, Secretary
Hadley Malone, Treasurer
Dan Boykin, Member
Roger Williams, Member
For additional information contact:
Cathy Waggoner, Program Administrator
206 East Reelfoot Avenue, Suite 23
Union City, Tennessee 38261