Judith P. Hoyer was the Coordinating Supervisor of Early Childhood Education in Prince George’s County, Maryland. Improving the lives of young children was her dream and life’s work. Before she passed away in 1997, Mrs. Hoyer has succeeded in shaping and enhancing the futures of thousands of students. She established innovative curricula and educational approaches. She believed in the value that early childhood providers are responsible in shaping the lives of children, thus calling for collaboration and constant dialogue among those who work with young learners. In her last years, she established a school-based early childhood and family center at Cool Spring Elementary School in Adelphi, Maryland, offering a full range of services: early childhood education, health, and adult education services, family literacy and programs for infants and toddlers.
Her vision of this center has been revived in the form of the Judith P. Hoyer Early Care and Education Enhancement Program which was signed by the Governor into law on May 20, 2000. MSDE has been charged in implementing the Program, including the establishment of so-called Judy Centers all across Maryland.
The Judith P. Hoyer Early Child Care and Education Enhancement Program were established in July 2000 through Senate Bill 793. As a result of this legislation, the Maryland General Assembly allocated $7 million to establish the Judith P. Hoyer Early Child Care and Education Enhancement Centers (hereafter, the Judy Centers), provide Enhancement Grants for private providers, and track progress in school readiness using the Maryland Model for School Readiness (MMSR). The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) was charged with administering these programs.
Judy Centers were designed to provide a comprehensive set of services for at-risk children birth through age five and families. Judy Centers are located in or affiliated with elementary schools and provide full-day, full-year services. Services were designed to foster a child’s readiness for school. All counties in Maryland have been awarded grants to establish Judy Centers.
This program is funded under the Judith P. Hoyer Early Child Care and Education Center Grant as authorized by the Judith P. Hoyer Early Child Care and Enhancement Program Annotated Code in Maryland, Education Article, Section Paragraph 5-213, in addition to inkind services by collaborating community partners. It was a vision of Judy Hoyer, the late wife of Congressman Steny Hoyer, that brought to life the concept of co-locating educational and other community services to serve children and their families.