Early childhood program receives boost from Gates Foundation

HARLINGEN — They don’t know the details yet, but it’s all good.

The Harlingen school district has just learned it’s been awarded a $200,000 grant for its early childhood program. The grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation may come in the form of money, supplies or services.

Whatever the means, it translates into success for the district’s children, said Carmen Alvarez, early childhood specialist for the district.

“We’re waiting to hear from the RGV Focus people, and they should be able to let us know the details,” she said with great excitement.

The Foundation is making the donation through its collaboration with RGV Focus, states the school district’s website. More specifically, the district will direct the grant toward its early literacy initiatives.

“I’m very proud of that,” Alvarez said. “They looked at our kindergarten readiness scores and the students are doing extremely well. They wanted to know what instructional practices we put into place to garner those scores.”

The school district has been proactive in its early literacy initiatives, such as the Leveled Literacy Libraries and a phonics program from the Neuhaus Education Center.

What is RGV FOCUS?

It is a nonprofit organization that works through a leadership team of school district, higher education, philanthropic, workforce and community leaders to align resources along the cradle-to-career educational pathway for the region’s 432,000 pre-K-12 and higher education students. Results are measured along each step of the learners’ journey from pre-K through higher education.