Access to quality before- and after-school care is a critical need for working parents with elementary school-aged children. To address ongoing demand, Stanford University, Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD) and Palo Alto Community Child Care (PACCC) through its contract with the City of Palo Alto have reached an agreement to expand child care facilities at Escondido Elementary School.

“We greatly appreciate this collaboration with PAUSD, PACCC and the City of Palo Alto to further address the need for quality child care in our community,” said Phyllis Stewart Pires, senior director for worklife strategy at Stanford. “Stanford has worked for many years to provide high-quality child care options to students, faculty, staff and members of the surrounding university community. This agreement expands capacity at the Escondido child care program over the long term, and in the short term it also provides welcome continuity for families who will be transitioning from one of Stanford’s current child care programs.”

Existing Palo Alto Community Child Care modular building for after-school program at Escondido Elementary School.

Existing Palo Alto Community Child Care Center modular building at Escondido Elementary School. (Image credit: L.A. Cicero)

Under the agreement, Stanford will provide funding to PAUSD for the purchase, installation and setup of a second modular building at Escondido Elementary School to house an expanded PACCC program at the school. PACCC provides child care at a number of facilities in the Palo Alto community, but its before- and after-school program at Escondido Elementary is currently limited to one modular building.

The additional modular building will expand the capacity of the PACCC program at Escondido Elementary on an ongoing basis. Initially, as part of the agreement, families currently enrolled at the Pepper Tree School on the Stanford campus will be able to enroll in the expanded PACCC program at Escondido after the Pepper Tree program closes at the end of the 2016-17 school year. The Pepper Tree program is being closed to make way for construction of a new and expanded Children’s Center of the Stanford Community on the site.

The PAUSD Board of Education approved the agreement at its meeting on Feb. 28.

“Our school-age centers are located on-site at 11 of 12 elementary schools within the Palo Alto Unified School District, and we value our close partnerships with school administrators and the local community,” said Lisa Rock, executive director at PACCC. “This agreement will enable us to expand the child care services we provide to children from kindergarten through fifth grade at Escondido Elementary School.”

“This is a fantastic example of organizations that listen to their community members and work together to serve their needs,” said Dr. Glenn “Max” McGee, superintendent for PAUSD. “We know that our Escondido Elementary parents, many of whom are Stanford graduate students, have a need for child care before and after our instructional day when our parents might be in school themselves. We are pleased to partner with Stanford and with PACCC as we work together to attend to the child care needs that are so important to the families we serve in our Escondido Elementary neighborhood and throughout the PAUSD community. The Board of Education recognizes this need and the members showed their support with the approval of this partnership.”

Stanford is continuing to work on several fronts to expand its child care capacity. The expansion of the Children’s Center of the Stanford Community, currently located on Pampas Lane, will allow the center to expand its capacity from 144 to 225 children, further enhancing the availability of local child care when it opens in 2018. In total, along with other child care expansion initiatives being undertaken at the university, the capacity in Stanford’s child care programs will grow from 740 to approximately 930 spaces by 2019.