CHPS pre-kindergarten program earns top rating from state

Achievement shows commitment to quality care, education

Columbia Heights Public Schools’ early childhood program for ages 3-5 has earned the highest rating from Parent Aware, which helps parents in Minnesota find quality child care and early education providers.

A certificate and an award letter were sent for each of District 13’s early childhood program sites, including the Family Center, Highland Elementary and North Park Elementary. The school district’s early childhood program is featured on, and the rating is valid for two years.

According to Early Childhood Coordinator Karen Kremer, Parent Aware is a rating tool for high quality early education and child care, which is led by the Minnesota Department of Human Services in coordination with the Minnesota Department of Education.

The one- to four-star ratings system measures best practices, identified by research, that help children succeed in kindergarten and beyond. It requires that 100 percent of the teaching staff complete eight hours of very specific curriculum training and eight hours of very specific assessment training.

Earning this rating means that the teaching staff has gone through a more rigorous process to make sure everyone is qualified, she said, adding that about 75 percent of staff had already completed the necessary training because the school district tries to stay current on training.

Community Education Director Kristen Stuenkel said that Kremer and all the early childhood teachers put a lot of work into applying for the accreditation.

“We’ve always known that our early childhood programs have been excellent,” she said. “It’s very nice to have an objective body join us in that recognition.”

If there is additional funding for early childhood programs that require a four-star Parent Aware rating, the Columbia Heights School District will be in a position to receive that funding, which could include scholarships for families.

“I think it’s truly a credit to our teachers, who are top-notch and who work very hard to achieve these things for our Columbia Heights pre-K program,” Kremer said.

She said she thinks the rating is important for parents and hopes it will help them decide where to send their children for early childhood care or early childhood programs when they visit the Parent Aware website.


Contact Kassie Petermann at [email protected]