Catherine Hershey Schools for Early Learning Breaks Ground on its First Cost-Free Early Childhood Resource Center in Derry Township
Catherine Hershey Schools for Early Learning (CHS) held a groundbreaking ceremony for CHS Hershey, the first of its Early Childhood Resource Centers (ECRC) in Pennsylvania. The planned two-story, 50,827-square-foot building will be located on the Milton Hershey School campus on the southwest corner of Governor and Homestead Roads in Hershey, Pennsylvania. It is scheduled to be completed in 2023.
“Today marks a significant milestone as we build on Catherine and Milton Hershey’s legacy,” said Senate Alexander, Executive Director of CHS. “Their vision continues to be our guide as we look to help many more children and families in need at CHS Hershey and future locations.”
CHS Hershey is part of a $350 million initiative to fund the initial development of up to six cost-free ECRCs across Pennsylvania, as subsidiaries of Milton Hershey School. CHS Hershey will provide a core early learning program for 150 students from birth to age 5 from economically disadvantaged and at-risk backgrounds. The curriculum will be designed to enhance students’ educational, social, emotional, and cognitive development. CHS also will provide students with nutritious meals, transportation and other needed supplies, and will offer integrated support services to families of enrolled children with a dedicated family resource center. CHS Hershey is expected to have 80 employees and volunteers and to provide services from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Appropriately, the historic groundbreaking took place during Milton Hershey School’s Founders Week, which celebrates the anniversary of Milton and Catherine Hershey establishing MHS 112 years ago. As another way to recognize the school’s founders, current MHS elementary students sprinkled flower seeds into the soil during the ceremony to pay tribute to Catherine Hershey’s love for flowers, as reflected in the CHS logo, and represent how access to early childhood education will lay the foundation of success for the children who will learn and grow at CHS. Additionally, MHS high school students who are currently learning about early childhood education in the Education and Human Services Career and Technical Education (CTE) pathway, participated in the groundbreaking knowing there will be opportunities in the future for hands-on learning and internship experiences at CHS Hershey.
Distinguished guests at the groundbreaking ceremony included Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro and State Senator John DiSanto. They were joined by Susan Cort of the Derry Township Board of Supervisors, local community leaders, members of the MHS Board of Managers, and current CHS and MHS staff.
Since the initiative was approved in October 2020, there have been many CHS developments in an effort to bring early childhood education resources to families and children in need. In addition to hiring its Executive Director, Senate Alexander, and today’s groundbreaking, CHS has announced the Midtown neighborhood of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, as the second ECRC location. CHS Hershey is expected to begin the student admissions process in the fall of 2022 with a focus on serving children and families in Hershey and the surrounding area.
CHS also continues to hire experts and professionals passionate about helping children reach their full potential. Recently, it began accepting applications for its first school-level position, Director of CHS Hershey, with more school-level positions becoming available soon. Additionally, career opportunities at the CHS Central Office in Hershey include: Operations Director, Facilities Manager, Finance Manager, Human Resources Manager, Recruiter, Strategic Partnerships Manager, and Executive Assistant. For more details about CHS, career opportunities, and other ongoing developments, visit chslearn.org.