Initiative

Charlotte Bilingual Preschool

Charlotte Bilingual Preschool prepares Spanish-speaking children for success in school and life by providing superior dual language, multi-cultural early childhood education. Our vision is that Charlotte-Mecklenburg is a place where all children have access to advantage and opportunity. Charlotte Bilingual Preschool provides a suite of two generation programs, including the only 5-star licensed dual language preschool program in North Carolina and Family Programs designed in partnership with families. Using our proven approaches, we are pursuing a long-term strategic plan to build a system of dual language early childhood education programs. Through leveraging partnerships and hiring and training bilingual educators from our family community, our goal is to dramatically increase our impact, growing to serve 1,500 Latinx children annually across Mecklenburg County and creating an equitable dual language early childhood education model.

Fast Facts

Relevant Actions
State or Local? Local
Counties Mecklenburg
Lead Agency Charlotte Bilingual Preschool
Type of Agency

Non-profit

Racial Equity Lens
  • To respond to COVID learning gaps, Read Charlotte launched Reading Checkup, providing tools in English for families to target literacy gaps at home. We hired and trained educators from our family community to guide 109 Spanish-speaking families to date through Reading Checkup, empowering Latinx families to help other families support literacy at home and ensuring services for families on our waiting list.
  • We serve on county, state, and regional-level Boards to give a voice to Latinx children and families. In a landscape where many conversations leave our Latinx community behind, we are vocal in advocating for dual language learners and North Carolina’s growing Latinx population.
  • Our leadership team reflects the diversity of our community, almost all team members are bilingual, and 11 are current or alumni families. One of our four growth strategies is to build the bilingual early childhood education workforce by hiring and training educators of color from within our family community and partnering with local universities with credential programs. In 2020-21, we began formalizing career pathways with 12 families completing certification in Early Care (EDU-119) in partnership with Wake Tech. Watch for stories from participants.
Community Voice
  • Our families shared their need for extended-day programs and we partnered with MECK Pre-K to convert 4-year-old classrooms to extended day, deepening impact for students and benefitting working families.
  • In 2018, we piloted the Green Room, enrolling both English- and Spanish-speaking students to accelerate language acquisition and facilitate flow of social capital. We invited families to lead in a Design Sprint, and they advised on recruitment, enrollment, and implementation.
  • Throughout COVID-19 we have surveyed families on their needs, made referrals to community assistance programs and coordinated resources. In response to family input, we provided 105 families with technology to access our remote programs and 60 families with basic needs such as baby supplies, PPE, and toiletries. Groceries and meals were also distributed to families facing food insecurity.
Impact
  • An external alumni study found Charlotte Bilingual Preschool children enter kindergarten ahead of their Latinx peers and maintain consistent growth and advantage through second grade.
  • Due to COVID-19, end-of-year assessments were not possible for the 2019-20 school year. However, by mid-year, 69% of our Preschool Program children had improved their English-language skills (GOLD) and 70% showed statistically significant social-emotional improvement (DECA).
  • At the end of the 2019-20 school year, 91% of families showed confidence in their ability to support their child’s education in elementary school.
Next Steps
  • In 2021-22, we are seeking funding to add two additional off-site classrooms, serving an additional 36 children.
  • We are also seeking funding to convert two of our four half-day three-year-old classrooms to extended day, providing 36 children with extended day programs.
Primary Partners
  • MECK Pre-K
  • Smart Start of Mecklenburg County
Primary Funders
  • MECK Pre-K
  • Smart Start of Mecklenburg County
  • Bank of America Charitable Foundation
  • Other philanthropic individuals and organizations
Contact Connie Barcelo

Active Counties