(Via Austin ISD Press Release)
Austin ISD will nearly double its capacity to teach prekindergarten for three-year-olds (Pre-K3) next year, thanks to funding from local donors. View photos from the press conference at Pleasant Hill Elementary on May 5th.
“When students have a strong start, they have a strong future,” Superintendent Paul Cruz said. “We want make sure all students are given a path to success. Starting early improves the chance that students graduate college-, career- and life-ready.”
AISD will be able to add Pre-K3 to 13 more schools: Barrington, Casey, Harris, Houston, Jordan, Kocurek, Metz, Ortega, Palm, Perez, Read, Sanchez and Widen elementary schools.
Three years ago, AISD offered the Pre-K3 program to 42 three-year-old students at two pilot schools. This year, the program expanded to provide Pre-K3 for 550 three-year-old students funded by United Way for Greater Austin and its major donors. Next year, there will be space for more than 1,000 students thanks to the latest expansion.
The partners who made this expansion possible: Buena Vista Foundation, Cullen Family Charitable Foundation, the Gottesman Family, Tapestry Foundation and Eric Stumberg with support from United Way for Greater Austin.
AISD Early Childhood Director, Jacquie Porter, emphasized the strong foundation students build in Pre-K.
“Prekindergarten is more than just shapes and colors. It’s about getting students ready for life,” Porter said. “In prekindergarten, students learn socializing, social and emotional learning, and how to work with others.”
Registration for Pre-K is open through the beginning of the school year. However, capacity at some schools will fill up quickly, so families are encouraged to sign up soon.
To be eligible for enrollment in the Pre-K program, a child must be 3-years-old on or before Sept. 1 of the current school year, live in the district, and must:
- Be unable to speak and/or comprehend the English language; or
- Be educationally disadvantaged (qualify for free/reduced-price lunch); or
- Be homeless, as defined by 42 U.S.C. Section 11302; or
- Be the child of an active duty member of the armed forces of the United States; or
- Be the child of a member of the armed forces of the United states who was injured or killed while serving on active duty; or
- Currently or ever have been in the conservatorship of the Department of Family and Protective Services following an adversary hearing under Family Code 262.201.
For more information on Pre-K3, call 512-414-PREK. To learn about opportunities to support early childhood, please call Michelle Wallis at 512-414-4850.