Pre-K programs awarded grants

Published 6:24 pm Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Byrd First Class Early Learning Center and Bruce K. Craig Elementary School have received grants for pre-K programs.

Gov. Robert Bentley announced 155 new pre-K grants earlier this week that will benefit 41 counties around the state and will impact nearly 3,000 students.

Byrd will receive $92,700 for the upcoming school year and Bruce K. Craig will receive $150,000, which will be used to start a pre-K program. Byrd plans to use the grant to maintain its current program and to pay the salaries of its pre-K teachers.

“Only 20 percent of Alabama’s 4-year-olds are currently enrolled in the First Class program,” Bentley said. “Along with the support of legislative funding, we will continue to expand access to this program until every Alabama parent who wants their child to attend has access.”

A study by the Center for Public Education shows that students who attend pre-K programs are more ready to learn than students who do not participate in those programs. The Early Childhood Longitudinal Study showed that students who took part in pre-K scored higher in reading and math tests than children under parental care.

Those statistics serve as a reminder of why it’s so important for the state to invest in pre-K programs. They truly make a difference in the futures of our children.