Early Childhood Academies to Expand throughout Kentucky

Kentucky, Toyota announce funding for 36 new academies to provide parental education

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor Steve Beshear, Toyota and United Way have announced the expansion of innovative early childhood academies to 36 more schools across the state.

The initiative is funded by Kentucky’s Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge federal grant and Toyota’s manufacturing operations in Kentucky.

The United Way Born Learning Academies meet a critical need in Kentucky communities – early childhood parental education – and are designed to improve kindergarten readiness, since half of Kentucky’s children arrive to kindergarten unprepared. The academies include six free, monthly workshops that teach parents and caregivers of children from prenatal to 5 years old how to turn everyday moments into learning opportunities.

The state is in year two of a four year, $1.4 million expansion, while Toyota is in its fourth year of a $1 million investment.

“Race to the Top funds allow us to take another step toward helping every child in the Commonwealth enter kindergarten ready to succeed,” said Gov. Beshear. “We are proud to partner with United Way and Toyota as we engage families and communities to support and foster educational opportunities at the earliest level. Our effort at this stage will build a firm foundation as we prepare our students for success in school and the workforce.”

Today’s announcement brings the total number of statewide academies to 105, with 50 funded by Race to the Top, 41 by Toyota and 14 schools that are part of the original Kentucky contingent, operated with funding through United Way of Greater Cincinnati – Northern Kentucky.

“When my two daughters were young, we read to them every night, providing them with language skills while building on the parent-child relationship,” said Mike Price, vice president of administration, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky. “We know those early moments are important, and that is why Toyota made this commitment to early childhood education. We want to be part of raising successful students who become tomorrow’s equipped and competitive workforce.”

With support of the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood (KYGOEC) and the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, along with the Division of Family Resource and Youth Services Centers, Born Learning Academies will grow to 220 total schools over the next four years.

Beginning this year, Family Resource and Youth Service Centers (FRYSC), a division of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services that works to remove nonacademic barriers to learning as a means to enhance student academic success, will partner with the KYGOEC and Toyota to provide staff support for the United Way Born Learning Academies.

“FRYSCs have an established record of success in improving academic outcomes and meeting the specific needs within their communities,” said Melissa Goins, director of the Division of Family Resource and Youth Services Centers. “We are pleased to begin this partnership to help families be their child’s best first teacher.”

The Born Learning concept, created by United Way Worldwide, provides a community resource for parents and teachers to collaborate in early childhood development so that children are better prepared to learn. The academies were created through a unique partnership that includes Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky, United Way of Northern Kentucky Success by Six, United Way of Kentucky and the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence.

“By offering these workshops before children enter school, we help them avoid playing catch-up from the start and provide a much greater chance of success throughout their school years,” said Kevin Middleton, president, United Way of Kentucky.

Investing in quality early childhood education offers substantial benefits. Experts say that every dollar spent on preschool and early childhood education programs carries a return on investment ranging from $2 to $17. According to the Prichard Committee, children who attend high-quality preschool are more likely to be employed and have higher earnings as adults.

Kentucky All-STARS Funded Academies



Owingsville Elementary


Breckinridge Elementary


Liberty Elementary


Tates Creek Elementary


Lawler Elementary


McKell Elementary


Hickman County Elementary


Tyner Elementary


Cochran Elementary


Coleridge-Taylor Montessori Elementary


Flat Gap Elementary


River Ridge Elementary


Emmalena Elementary


Hindman Elementary


Southside Elementary


Beattyville Elementary


Lewisburg School


Mapleton Elementary


Bloomfield Elementary


Jamestown Elementary


Heritage Elementary


Simpsonville Elementary


Taylorsville Elementary


Walker Early Learning Center


Providence Elementary


Campton Elementary


Toyota Academies



Sparrow Early Learning Center


Junction City Elementary


Heritage Elementary


Early Learning Village


Miles Elementary


Louisa West Elementary


Clark Elementary


Foster Heights Elementary


Bevins Elementary


Simmons Elementary


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