Pre-K coming to J.E. Terry Elementary School

Published 9:59 pm Wednesday, May 31, 2017

More 4 year olds in Dallas County will be enrolled in pre-K this upcoming school year.

Governor Kay Ivey and the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education announced the addition of 122 First Class Pre-K classes across the state Wednesday.

“A high-quality childhood education program has long-lasting benefits on our society as a whole,” Ivey said in a statement. “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.”

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Hattie Shelton, superintendent for Dallas County Schools, said adding a pre-K classroom to J.E. Terry Elementary School in Plantersville will give the county a total of six pre-K classes.

“It’s great for us,” Shelton said of the governor’s news. “This will allow us to reach a larger group of those 4-year-olds who might not have been able to get into the Head Start program and weren’t able to get into other programs, so that’s going to be a plus for us.”

The county school system already had five pre-K classes with classrooms at Brantley, Bruce K. Craig, Salem and Valley Grande elementary schools. The county will receive $120,000 for the new classroom. The funding is coming from an increase to the state’s Education Trust Fund Budget for fiscal year 2018, as well as from year three of the state’s four-year federal Preschool Development Grant.

“We’re looking forward to it. The programs we’ve gotten into place thus far have been very successful,” Shelton said. “We send our kids into kindergarten prepared to learn skills and so forth, so we’re kind of excited about it glad it came up.”

Shelton said the school system will have to hire a teacher and an aid, as well as set up the new pre-K classroom to get it ready for the new school year.

“I think the board is going to be really excited because they’ve been talking about pre-K and how valuable it is for our kids to get those opportunities,” Shelton said.

Students will be selected through a lottery sometime this summer once the school system has a list of applicants. There is a maximum of 18 students that can be selected.

“For them to be eligible for the program, all they have to be is four years old, they have to be potty-trained and have to be able to feed themselves. Other than that, they can just come, and we’ll work with them from there,” Shelton said.

The First Class Pre-K program is operated by the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education.

The program is designed to prepare children for school.

Shelton said parents can fill out an application for their child at the Dallas County Schools central office, located at 429 Lauderdale St.

Anyone interested in applying online can contact Dr. Latanya Miles at (334) 876-4465.