Relocation


FAQ’s of HP Community’s Relocation

 

Who is HP Community?

Do we need additional daycare facilities in Highland Park?

How many students are currently enrolled at HP Community?

What programs does HP Community offer?

Why is HP Community relocating?

What locations were considered for the HP Community relocation?

What is HP Community proposing to build at Kennedy Park?

What will happen to Kennedy Park?

How many students does HP Community anticipated at the new location at Kennedy Park?

What programs does HP Community provide that aren’t currently provided elsewhere in Highland Park or Highwood?

If HP Community doesn’t find a new home, would the Little Giants program at Highland Park High School have to be shut down?

 

Who is HP Community?

For 67 years, Highland Park Community Nursery School & Day Care Center (HP Community) has been providing quality, licensed, affordable, early care and education for children ages 2 through 10 whose parents live and/or work in the Highland Park and Highwood area or who are attending training to improve their economic situations. HP Community originally served children of working parents only, but because of the success of the program, non-working parents requested a ½ day nursery school program be added to the center’s offerings. Currently, we have multiple programs designed to meet the various needs of the families with young children who make up our community. We provide programs on a first come, first served basis with priority given to single parents and children/families that are referred to us by other agencies.

Over the past 67 years, HP Community has adjusted its programs to best meet the needs of the community. We have added programs, discontinued programs, and offered pilot programs meeting different needs. The relocation has once again offered HP Community an opportunity to serve the community by meeting an unmet need. We are not interested in taking business away from other programs. We are relocating our current program and adding services that currently are not fully met.

Do we need additional daycare facilities in Highland Park?

We are not new, we’ve been providing services here in Highland Park for 67 years. We are simply relocating within Highland Park. While we are not adding additional daycare competition, there remains a significant need for childcare options in our area.

Based on IECAM maps, Ounce of Prevention information, DCFS resources and HP Community’s own waiting lists data, it was determined that there was is a significant need for services for children 0 to 3 years of age, especially for low to moderate income families. We determined that no center-based infant care was available in Highland Park even though 15% of families with children under the age of one would prefer center-based care, and 21% with children between the age of 1 and 2 years of age would prefer center-based care. Based on census data this would indicate that as many as 500 children ages 2 and under could benefit from HP Community offering center-based care. Within Highland Park there is one program (Lutz Family Center) that offers care for toddlers (12 slots), and eight licensed in-home providers who care for infants (18 slots). While there are more offerings for children 2 years old, there still are only 74 slots dispersed across 5 licensed centers (including HP Community). All totaled, 104 slots of care are available for children ages 2 and under.

How many students are currently enrolled at HP Community?

Currently, 93 students are enrolled at HP Community. This number is slightly down for previous years as Northshore School District 112 started offering full-day kindergarten, thus ending the need for ½ day wrap around kindergarten care at HP Community.

What programs does HP Community offer?

With the addition of full-day kindergarten, we are planning some programing changes at our new location:

● Two-Year-Old Classrooms (x2) – Research-based early education is offered to children who turn 2 by September 1st. Children may attend the program on a full time, part time, partial day basis. Class size is limited to 15 children with 3 teachers, providing the individualized attention necessary to promote positive social interactions and overall developmental growth. Since opening our first 2-year-old classroom in 2016, HP Community has had a waitlist of enough children to operate an additional classroom if we had had the space to provide the care.
● Preschool for All (PFA) Classrooms (with wrap around childcare services) (x2) – ISBE approved, research-based early education is offered five mornings a week following the school year with wrap around childcare services for three- and four-year-old children of working or student parents in our community. For this program, all daycare children are required to be enrolled full time. Children may attend part time in the summer when Preschool for All is not in session. Each class consists of 20 children and three teachers. All children must meet PFA participation guidelines. In addition to focusing on the qualifying at-risk academic skills, social interactions, behaviors and skills are a focus of our emergent curriculum based on the Reggio Emelia approach to early learning.
● Infant/Toddler Classroom (x1) – Research-based developmental activities and parent education is offered to families with children 6 months to 24 months. Children may attend the program on a full time, part time, partial day basis. Class size is limited to 10 children with 4 teachers, providing the individualized attention necessary to meet each child’s individual needs, promote positive social interactions, and overall developmental growth.

All classes are taught by certified teachers and not only provide affordable, safe, nurturing care, but also enriching educational activities that meet IL Early Learning Standards that prepare children with the pre-academic skills necessary for success in school. Screenings include vision, hearing, dental and developmental. Developmental screening results are used to plan daily activities that incorporate those learning areas that are in need of improvement into the lesson plans. Each child’s progress is monitored and recorded using anecdotal notes, work samples and progress reports through individualized learning portfolios. This information is shared with parents during conferences and consultations that occur at least quarterly and as requested by parents and staff. Additionally, HP Community collaborates with Northshore School District 112 and private agencies that provide early interventions and evaluations for children who need these types of support services.

Why is HP Community relocating?

HP Community found out that we needed to move out of the Karger Center, our home for the past 53 years, when the City was planning to put the property up for sale. While we had been working with the Community Family Center (CFC), a non-profit organization that was raising funds to build a new human services facility for Highland Park residents, the CFC was unable to raise sufficient funds. With this development, HP Community had to move forward on its own to find a new location.

What locations were considered for the HP Community relocation?

Commercial/Retail Space:

● Private Sale Vacant Land – There are a number of sites we looked at but they were unworkable because of timeline and financial constraints. The cost of land in the area we serve is much higher than our program income would be able to support.
● 3500 Western – The owner was willing to work with us to renovate this existing building, but the site would not pass licensing or the fire code for young children.
● New Development at Karger Site – Our program had been included in one of the proposals presented to the City for the Karger Center site. It would have been ideal for us to remain there with only a temporary move during construction. We would have collaborated with a senior living facility to provide intergenerational care – something HP Community has been interested in for quite some time as so many of our children do not have grandparents in the area. Ultimately, this was not the proposal that was chosen by the City though.

Public/Community Spaces:

● St. James Church Education Center – We inquired about this space but were turned down.
● Trinity Episcopal Church – The Mayor had talked with the church on our behalf. We visited the site but the rooms were too small and would be difficult to license due to fire safety guidelines.
● Bethany Learning Center site – The church was being sold to finance a new structure as the congregation was moving. Again the site would have required many renovations to meet Fire Code.
● Immaculate Conception Educational Center – HP Community visited IC several times. IC Educational Center was one of the first locations that was considered when looking for an alternate for the CFC (Community Family Center). After the CFC put their plans on hold, HP Community and Tri-Con visited the site and finally HP Community investigated the site more thoroughly for our individual relocation. The Arch Diocese was interested in a short-term lease – 3 to 5 years. This would not work for the project as the length of the lease made the retrofits and renovations that were needed to be in compliance with DCFS and the State Fire Code cost prohibitive. The timeframe to complete the project also did not align with HP Community’s needs.
● Park District of Highland Park – West Ridge Center – We met with the Park District of Highland Park. We inquired about West Ridge classrooms that were being used for administrative operations hoping the office might be moved to the Rec Center. We asked about the Rec Center as the country club is closing and would possibly free up some space but were unable to gain their support. We will continue to engage with the Park District about other possible locations and the shared use of Kennedy Park.
● Park District of Highland Park – Undeveloped parcels of land – HP Community approached the Park District about the possibility of the Park District donating unused, smaller parcels of park district lands to local nonprofits like HP Community to house our modular structure – as this was mentioned in the Park District’s Green Print Plan. It was decided the parcels were too residential and too small to meet our needs.
● North Shore School District #112 – Lincoln School – When the District announced they would be closing several schools over the next few years, we toured the schools – Elm Place and Lincoln School specifically. HP Community felt Lincoln School could work as a temporary home even though it would require retrofits and renovations to meet all of licensing and quality programming requirements. We began the preliminary studies and began working on funding while waiting for D112 to extend a lease. In July 2018, D112 informed us that Lincoln School would not be available and we should start looking elsewhere.
● City of Highland Park and Park District of Highland Park – Country Club – HP Community met with the City of Highland Park and the Park District of Highland Park to include HP Community as part of the Country Club exchange between the City and the Park District. The City, D112 and the Park District met and suggested Kennedy Park as a solution to our relocation request.
● North Shore School District #112 – Parcel of land – Kennedy Park – This parcel was suggested as a site to house our modular facility. HP Community currently is working with D112 on a ground lease and preliminary studies to ascertain if the site can accommodate our needs. At this time, this is the most promising solution to our relocation to meet both our programmatic and timeline needs.

What is HP Community proposing to build at Kennedy Park?

HP Community is proposing a facility that would consist of 5 classrooms, a gross motor room, art studio, kitchen, teacher area, reception, parent gathering place and an entry vestibule. The site would include a fenced outdoor play area with natural elements, a parking lot, storm water detention and driveway with signage. We are just now at the end of the discovery and planning process that has included architecture design, civil site surveys, civil site planning, traffic study, lighting study, and a landscape plan. We look forward to discussing our plans at an upcoming public meeting on Tuesday, January 8, 2019 at the Highland Park Police Station (time: TBD).

What will happen to Kennedy Park?

It will remain a park! The south end of the field and playground immediately behind the Lutz Family Center will still be park land and accessible just as they are today. HP Community would be located on the north end of the field on land owned by Northshore School District 112. HP Community will be adding a fenced, tot-lot playground and additional natural play spaces that will be available for public use outside of our operating hours (public use in the evenings, on weekends, and holidays). While the soccer field will be impacted, HP Community is aiming for a landscaping and site plan that will enhance the natural, open space of Kennedy Park.

How many students does HP Community anticipated at the new location at Kennedy Park?

Next year at Kennedy Park we anticipate having 83 slots for care. Some of these slots will be shared by part-time attending children so the number could be slightly higher. In my experience I have found that younger children tend to go to childcare on a part-time basis as parents may adjust their work schedules to be at home to keep costs down or the child may spend one or two days a week with a grandparent, etc.

What programs does HP Community provide that aren’t currently provided elsewhere in Highland Park or Highwood?

● HP Community is an ExceleRate IL Gold Circle of Quality program – only D112’s Green Bay School has this quality rating in Highland Park.
● Preschool for All Program – no other program is funded for PFA in Highland Park.
● Two-Year-Old Programs (CCAP Contracted Care) – programming is quite limited for this age group. According to DCFS, there are 5 centers offering a total of 74 slots, but HP Community is the only one with state CCAP contracts to provide care for low to moderate income families. For the past 2 years we have had a waitlist of 16 – 18 children indicating that there is a need for more 2-year-old care.
● Toddler Program – 1 center offers 12 slots of care. HP Community will utilize our CCAP contract to offer additional care for children from low to moderate income families. This program will be added once the center is open so we can become licensed. Eventually this class will switch to infant care and the toddler program will also accommodate young twos. The grouping will be based on developmental skills as well as age.
● Infant Program – Currently there are no center-based infant care programs in Highland Park. Infant care (6 months – 15 months) will not be offered immediately as the center must be up and running in order to reissue our license to include this age group. We anticipate providing care for this group as we transform our second 2-year-old class to serve toddlers and younger 2’s thus allowing us to serve non-mobile infants in a safe environment that does not include children who are walking. This adds safety and a greater focus on the developmental needs specific to these children. When working with younger children it is important to consider their developmental age over their physical age.

If HP Community doesn’t find a new home, would the Little Giants program at Highland Park High School have to be shut down?

Little Giants would not necessarily have to shut down, but it is likely that HP Community would not operate it. The program struggles to break even as HP Community must maintain our salary scale, benefits and the standard of care as indicated with our Gold Circle of Quality rating. It is too difficult to cover expenses of maintaining this level of service with just one classroom. We would provide adequate notice to North Shore School District 113, and work with them to find a new organization to take over operations.

Little Giants current enrollment is 16 children, ages 2 to 5. Several students volunteer at Little Giants on a regular basis. In the past students have come over from the child development class to spend time in our classroom during their lunch, free periods before/after school, etc. Little Giants collaborates with specific teachers to provide student-child interactions.

Copyright 2015. Highland Park Community