NSBN Projects - Paramount

Press Release

Febuary 18, 2004

Los Angeles County Supervisor and First 5 LA Chairman Don Knabe Announces Two New First 5 LA Investments in the City of Paramount.

PARAMOUNT - Supervisor Don Knabe, Chair of First 5 LA Commission, a non-profit organization funded by Proposition 10, announced two new investments in improving the quality of family life and education opportunities in Paramount today, Thursday, February 19, 2004 at 9:15am.

The first investment is being made by New Schools Better Neighborhoods . NSBN, a grantee of First 5 LA, has as its mission to serve in LA County as a catalyst and third-party intermediary to front-fund, convene, and manage collaborative, community led stakeholder master planning of mixed-use and community centered schools. NSBN's goal: To demonstrate by example the value of leveraging school bond dollars with park and pre-and after school funds, as well as with housing and library bonds, to build joint-use educational centers that by design revitalize our inner city and inner suburban neighborhoods.

Working with the school district, the City, Gateway Cities' PEP project and the District's early childhood education staff, NSBN is underwriting the master planning of the Los Cerritos site with input from public institutions and the community.

The second investment is a First 5 LA grant to Paramount Unified School District for $1.8 million in School Readiness funds. These funds will support four new preschool classes (1 of which will be at Los Cerritos Elementary School ). The four classes will serve 100 new children, as well as provide a Home Visitation program to serve more than 40 families. Moreover, preschool and kindergarten teachers will meet twice monthly to help ease students' transition from preschool to kindergarten.

Supervisor Knabe was joined by Paramount Mayor Gene Daniels, Paramount School Board President Sonya Cuellar, Paramount School Superintendent Jay Wilbur, Richard Hollingsworth of Gateway Cities Partnership and the PEP initiative, New Schools - Better Neighborhoods' Tomas Duran, Joe Edmiston of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, parents and children at Los Cerritos Elementary School at 14626 Gundry Ave. in Paramount CA, 90723.

"This is a great day for Paramount . The leveraging of these two investments will make a qualitative difference in the lives of those in this community. I am proud to be a part of this effort," Knabe told the crowd.

Superintendent Jay Wilbur commented that "today, the strong collaborative partnership between the City and the School District which began with the Paramount Educational Partnership (PEP) program, is continuing with NSBN and First 5 LA in providing the community with increased educational opportunities and greater resources."

"The NSBN project is an opportunity to expand on this successful partnership to allow the city and school district to leverage the investment in new school construction with the ability to address other community needs," said Tomas Duran, Project Manager for NSBN.

School Board President, Sonya Cuellar indicated that, "Preschool age children are of particularly high needs in PUSD. The First 5 award will allow the School Board to reach out proactively and meet some of those preschoolers' life needs as well as better prepare them for a successful kindergarten experience. We thank the First 5 Commission for this wonderful multiyear commitment to the children of PUSD."

Mayor Gene Daniels commented that, "we have the ability to bring together school and city resources to launch a collaborative revitalization effort that will benefit Paramount 's "Sans" community. Both the community and the students at the elementary school will benefit from this effort."

David Abel, Chairman of NSBN, noted that "without the collaboration of the School District, City and civic leadership of Paramount , little of what is expected from these First 5 LA investments would be realizable. A community truly coming together to seriously plan its future is what compels this and future philanthropic and public investment."

Joe Edmiston, the Executive Director of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, commented that "better linking by design of early education facilities, family resource centers, and our schools with our parks, is not only a "no-brainer", but in fast growing Los Angeles County, it's a necessity."

Other entities that will be involved in the Paramount project include Gateway Cities Partnership Inc., Edison, Trust for Public Land , Boys and Girls Club of Long Beach, Cerritos College , and Genesis LA Economic Growth Corporation.