School readiness a local priority

A group of New Albany and Union County people took the first steps Monday to participate in Excel By 5, a program to get children healthier and better prepared for kindergarten and beyond.

To become a certified Excel By 5 community, New Albany and Union County will go through a 20-month process to identify community needs and coordinate programs to fulfill them for children from birth to 5 years old.
A coalition of people representing education, child-care centers, healthcare, business and local government met Tuesday evening at the Magnolia Civic Center to get the program underway.
The group began working on a community needs and resources assessment and agreed to meet Dec. 6 to finalize the assessment. The work will be done through four subgroups: Community involvement, family and parent support, early care and education, and health.
Coalition officers were elected. Phil Nanney was elected chair; Mike Staten, vice chair; Dr. Susan McClelland, secretary; Sara Johnson, assistant secretary, and Lecia Stubblefield and Windy Faulkner, co-certification managers.
Excel By 5 is an initiative of the Early Childhood Institute at Mississippi State University.