$600K awarded for four new Pre-K classrooms

By NICOLE SMITH
Posted 6/1/17

Daily Mountain Eagle

A total of $600,000 has been awarded to the Walker County Board of Education to create four additional Pre-K classrooms in the school system.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey and the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education …

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$600K awarded for four new Pre-K classrooms

Posted

Daily Mountain Eagle

A total of $600,000 has been awarded to the Walker County Board of Education to create four additional Pre-K classrooms in the school system.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey and the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education announced Wednesday that 122 new Pre-K classrooms will be added across the state this fall.

Curry Elementary, Lupton Jr. High, Parrish Elementary and Valley Jr. High will each receive $150,000 for the creation of one Pre-K classroom at each school, giving students in those communities access to Pre-K education in a county school for the first time.

“We’re very excited,” Walker County Schools Superintendent Dr. Jason Adkins said.

Adkins thanked Sharon Harrison, the director of Head Start for the Walker County Board of Education, for her dedication to the county’s Pre-K/Head Start program. He also thanked grant writer Gail Treadway, who secured the Pre-K grant for the school system.

“She’s an excellent grant writer, and I knew she would be very beneficial to have on board. She is writing these grants and helping us to obtain this funding to be able to serve these kids, and we very much appreciate her efforts,” Adkins said.

He said Paul Kennedy and Cristy Moody of the Walker Area Community Foundation also helped during the grant application process.

Harrison said the Walker County school system has two Pre-K/Head Start blended classrooms in place, one at Oakman and one at Sumiton. She said Pre-K classrooms already exist at Cordova, Sumiton and Carbon Hill Elementary schools.

She said there are a couple of differences between Head Start and Pre-K classrooms.

“They both use the same curriculums and the same assessments, but the only thing that’s different about them is Head Start is income-based, and it’s a free program from the federal government, and Pre-K is lottery based,” Harrison said.

She added that Pre-K classrooms are only for 4-year-olds, while Head Start classrooms serve 3- and 4-year-old students.

In a press release from the governor’s office, Ivey praised the state’s First Class Pre-K program.

“A high-quality childhood education program has long lasting benefits on our society as a whole,” Ivey said. “Investment in our people through education, no matter at what level, is an investment in economic development. I am proud that we are now offering our nationally acclaimed First Class Pre-K program to more Alabama children and families.”

The new classrooms are made possible through the state’s FY 2018 Education Trust Fund Budget, along with funding from Alabama’s Preschool Development Grant. The Alabama Department of Childhood Education manages the state’s First Class Pre-K program.

Earlier this year, the Walker County Board of Education was also awarded $21,600 from state and federal funds for safety improvements at the county schools’ Pre-K playgrounds. Adkins said the money will be used over the summer to enhance playground safety at Pre-K schools, and the board is considering the purchase of shades for playgrounds.

“We’re very excited that we have more opportunity to serve more children,” Harrison said. “We’re getting children to school earlier for social, emotional education.”

Alabama was recently recognized by the National Institute for Early Education Research for having one of the nation’s highest quality state-funded Pre-K programs. A total of 938 Pre-K classrooms in the state will serve nearly 17,000 students in the upcoming school year — 28 percent of Alabama’s 4-year-olds.

Nearly 14 million dollars for Pre-K education was awarded to schools across the state Wednesday.