Friday, December 2, 2022

Bezos Academy Preschool Coming to FAU Campus

We all know Amazon delivers… and for the most part, fast and well. But we may not all realize some other big things that have come out of Amazon’s success. Big, life-changing kind of things.

Amazon founder and executive chair, Jeff Bezos, is creating and funding tuition-free, Montessori-inspired preschools across America to support low-income families.

Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton is one of the fortunate new hosts. It is the first university in Florida and second in America to host the academy.

“Jeff Bezos was a student of Montessori education. It had left an indelible mark on him. His growth in that space is something he wants other young folks to experience so he created the Bezos Academy,” said Joel Herbst, Ed.D., superintendent and assistant dean, PK-12 Schools and Educational Programs at FAU.

The university announced it will be home to the Bezos Academy in the Fall of 2022. The preschool will be located next to FAU’s A.D. Henderson University School in the building that was once home to the Karen Slattery Educational Research Center. The Karen Slattery ERCCD closed as a result of the COVID-19 virus and subsequent operating constraints.

“A.D. Henderson is a choice Title 1 school district that proves children from all economic backgrounds can excel if given the opportunity,” shared Herbst. “Considering their mission, I can’t conceive of a better partner than Bezos Academy for a preschool program on our campus.”

Bezos Academy already has more than a dozen other locations up and running around the country. There is a Bezos Academy location in an affordable housing complex in Orlando and others in Texas and the state of Washington. 

“It’s exciting to partner with an institution like Florida Atlantic University, one of the state’s most diverse universities,” said Mike George, president of Bezos Academy.  “We share their belief that everyone deserves access to a great education. We look forward to helping members of the community FAU serves pursue their dreams with the knowledge their children are learning in a safe, warm, and welcoming environment at no cost.”

The Bezos Academy will cover operating expenses for the preschool programs at no cost to the families served as well as meals and other daily expenses. 

Families earning up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level with children age 3 to 4 are eligible to apply. 

“A lot of people think Boca Raton is such an affluent community, but the need is truly there. When you look at the surrounding cities and you look at the thresholds for income that would allow students to attend the academy, there’s approximately 3,000 children under the age of five that meet that criteria in the surrounding area. When you couple that with the number of students on Pell grants at the university, which is approximately 9,000 students, you really have an opportunity to effect significant change,” said Herbst. 

To hear more from Dr. Herbst about the Bezos Academy – Boca Raton, listen to Today’s Paige the podcast. An application to the lottery-based selection process will soon be posted at https://www.bezosacademy.org/boca-raton-fl/.

for more on this story, including the “Today’s Paige” Podcast episode on the new Bezos Academy location, visit https://www.paigekornblue.com/todays-paige/fau-to-host-tuition-free-bezos-academy-preschool.

Paige Kornblue
Paige Kornbluehttp://www.PaigeKornblue.com
Paige Kornblue is an award-winning journalist who founded Paige Kornblue Media and Today’s Paige – the blog and podcast highlighting everything from interesting people, fascinating places and the gems making our communities special. In addition to Boca Magazine, Paige is a TODAY Show Parenting Team Contributor. She has anchored and reported for top-rated television stations across the country including WPTV NBC NewsChannel 5 and WMUR ABC News 9. Paige has also worked at NBC Sports and Dateline NBC and provided live reports for CNN and The Weather Channel. PK is a proud Boca Raton native who grew up loving Boca Magazine and all that comes with the fabulous city of Boca Raton! You can often find her on stage assisting charities as event emcee, on the courts working to improve her tennis game and on momma time enjoying each moment with her three young kiddos!

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