1976 Millcreek Children's Center was launched the year Apple Computer Company was formed, Microsoft was registered, Viking 2 landed on Mars, and Nobel Prizes were awarded to Milton Friedman and Saul Bellow. And we like to point to the uniqueness of the Center's origin and history.

It happened that the City of Youngstown Community Development Agency (CDA) (at that time focused on helping the poor) set up a child care center in the Old Latin Culture Center on Glenwood Avenue bordering Mill Creek Park. The CDA official knew that Sister Jerome and Ursuline Sisters were operating a successful volunteer GED evening program for city people who urgently needed their GED for their jobs. So Sister Jerome was invited to direct the child care center. For a long time Sister Jerome wasn't interested but finally agreed. She formed a nonprofit organization, Developing Potential, Inc., in order to begin this program. What a happy arrangement!

Since that time, Millcreek Children's Center full-time, year-round educational program for City preschool pupils has blossomed into a widely acknowledged leader of quality preschool preparation for kindergarten. Recently, our Millcreek "graduates" are scoring high on the KRA-L Test (Kindergarten Readiness Assessment for Literacy), given to all pupils entering public school kindergartens. Millcreek also has earned the Step Up to Quality One Star award, indicating that staff, pupils, and program show quality performance. Also, Millcreek has earned the State of Ohio Award for Excellence in Education in recognition of its commitment to children.

Millcreek Children's Center entered its new facility on Market Street in 1993 and put on an addition in 1998, all debt free. Its highly qualified staff and stimulating educational program receive some subsidy from Job and Family Services, but most of its expenses are paid by generous donors who really care about helping the poor children rise up out of poverty, and the only road is through a thorough education. Thank you, kind donors and friends.

1998 The Board of Developing Potential, Inc., which began Millcreek Children's Center in 1976, saw the need for parents' choice in education and began Youngstown Community School, a charter school, with 36 kindergarten children. Planning to add one grade a year, the school housed the children for a few years in Millcreek Children's Center.

Construction of charter schools doe not qualify for state financing, so we had a low-key campaign which raised some funding, and a substantial contribution from a generous friend. Developing Potential, Inc. took out a $4,000,000 Revenue Bond to complete the financing needed and a beautiful, functional new school was built on Essex Street and dedicated in 2002. The plan for repayment was that the school would pay rent at $10.00 per square foot to Developing Potential, Inc., and that rent would pay down the Revenue Bond. By sheer hard work and sacrifice, the 16-year Revenue Bond was paid off in 8 years, saving a great deal in fees and interest.

By September, 2004, Youngstown Community School (YCS) had increased its enrollment to 336 students, in kindergarten through grade six. Interest in the new charter school is so great there is usually a waiting list at each grade level. Because of the handicaps of poverty and attending factors, inner-city students often score low in achievement. However, YCS just missed a rating of Continuous Improvement by 2/10 of one point last year. The only valid comparison of student testing results must be with the closest neighborhood public school district. YCS does very well in this comparison.

YCS is a public charter school, tuition-free, and follows the same regulations as all public schools in the state. YCS receives the same Ohio School Foundation funding as the local public schools, but it cannot receive benefits from school taxes and levies. Charter schools, as a result, operate on a much lower per-pupil funding than local public school districts, often only half as much. A state requirement is that every charter school must have a sponsoring organization, which oversees and guides the school. Mahoning County Educational Service Center is the responsible sponsor of Youngstown Community School. For further details, click on www.YoungstownCommunitySchool.K12.OH.US.

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Millcreek Children's Center | 44 Essex Street, Youngstown, OH 44502 | 330.746.7111