Flint IT supports new pre-school program

By | December 15, 2016
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Young African American girl seated at table, smiling into camera. Teacher and other children at table in background.

U-M Flint News

More than 200 young students will gain new skills through exploration, learning, and creative play as Cummings Great Expectations, An Early Childhood Center, officially opened its doors last month to provide much-needed early education services for children across Flint. Through a partnership with the UM-Flint School of Education, Flint ITS was instrumental in providing technology support for the new center.

Flint ITS was involved in the project in a number of ways. The group installed network and wireless throughout the building. It will also provide 20 desktop computers, 13 laptops, and 4 iPads for use at the location. Lastly, Flint is looking into the possibility of hiring a new employee to provide tech and support at the site. All technology work should be complete in the next few months.

The Cummings Early Childhood Center will provide early education services for many children in the Flint area. Cummings will identify and address the educational, behavioral, and health needs of Flint children ages two months to five years, with a focus on those who were exposed to lead as a result of the city’s water crisis. The center also will serve as a resource hub for parents, families, and other home- and center-based childcare providers.

The center is the result of a partnership between Flint

Exterior of Cummings School. Single story yellow brick building surrounded by trees.

Flint ITS

Community Schools, UM-Flint, and the Genesee Intermediate School District to provide space, programming, and fiscal oversight of Cummings. UM-Flint, which operates a nationally accredited early childhood education center on its campus, is providing the same program and services at Cummings. The state of Michigan, foundations, and other charitable organizations are providing financial support.

According to Bilal Tawwab, superintendent of Flint Community Schools, all of these entities are working together to increase access to early childhood education in Flint. Research shows high-quality early childhood education can mitigate the effects of lead exposure, which can cause developmental delays and behavioral challenges in young children.

“The effort to get IT services up and running for the Early Childhood Education Center in the Cummings Community School building has proven to be challenging, but through significant effort by multiple teams in ITS good progress has been made,” says Erik Taipalus, UM-Flint’s project manager. “ITS made a well-received special effort to get a temporary wireless network solution in place so that staff did not have to continue to drive to the nearby McDonald’s to get internet access! We are hopeful that all IT services will be available by the end of the year.”