SAN ANTONIO - Lamar CISD's Project L.E.A.R.N is one of five finalists for the first-ever H-E-B Early Childhood Award, part of the grocery chain's Excellence in Education Awards program.
Project L.E.A.R.N. (Let's Eliminate At-Risk Needs) helps parents become involved in their children's education and provides homework assistance, tutoring or developmental childcare for children.
Project L.E.A.R.N and the other regional finalists will receive a $5,000 check to help enhance or create new Kinder-Readiness programs that prepare children to enter Kindergarten socially and academically ready to learn.
Lamar CISD was H-E-B's 2009 Excellence in Education Award-winner for large school districts. Ray Elementary teacher Donald Clark has won the award for Lifetime Achievement.
For 10 years, H-E-B has rewarded teachers, principals, superintendents and campuses for outstanding leadership and teaching through Excellence in Education. This year, H-E-B added a new category to support public or private schools or not-for-profit learning agencies that focus on the care and education of children under age 5.
The overall statewide winner will be announced at the H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards ceremony on May 6 at the InterContinental Hotel in Houston and awarded an additional $25,000 grant.
The four other 2012 Early Childhood Award finalists are:
* AVANCE San Antonio;
* Brownsville ISD;
* The Rise School of Houston; and
* The ChildCareGroup, Bock Early Child Development Center in Dallas.
The Early Childhood Award underscores the H-E-B Read 3 Campaign, an early childhood literacy initiative launched in September 2011 to educate parents and caregivers about the importance of reading to children a minimum of three times per week, and to provide families with the tools and resources they need to prepare their youngsters for school.
H-E-B has opened 10 literacy centers within stores in San Antonio and South Texas. The literacy centers feature age-appropriate tables and chairs, a rocking chair for adult readers, an expanded kids' library section, and a stage to host store events featuring beloved characters from children's literature. The centers will also host special story times with community leaders and H-E-B Partners, and will provide access to affordably priced books and information about local literacy programs and services.
In Texas, almost one third of the state's children entering the first grade are living in poverty while one in four Texas preschool children is not read to regularly.
H-E-B launched the Excellence in Education Awards program in cooperation with the Texas Association of School Administrators in 2002 as a positive way to support public education in Texas.
It has grown to become the largest monetary program for educators in the state. A major goal of the Excellence in Education awards is to make a statement about the great things going on in Texas public schools - to spotlight best practices and to celebrate the work of Texas educators.
In order to find the best teachers, principals and districts in Texas, H-E-B began by asking customers, Partners (employees) and community members to submit the names of their favorite educators, administrators and districts. Each nominee was sent an invitation directing them to website to compete their application. They were asked to their professional experiences, educational philosophies and achievements both in and out of the classroom.
Renowned for its innovation and community service, H-E-B, with sales of more than $16 billion, operates 332 stores in Texas and Mexico. The company is recognized for its fresh food, quality products, convenient services, and a commitment to environmental responsibility and sustainability. It strives to provide the best customer experience at everyday low prices. Based in San Antonio, H-E-B employs more than 76,000 Partners and serves millions of customers in more than 150 communities. For more information, visit www.heb.com.