Posts tagged ‘Pre-K’
Last Friday education advocates descended on Boyd Elementary School to listen to U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan lead a discussion about early childhood education.
Atlanta Public Schools (APS) Associate Superintendent Steve Smith, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and Commissioner Bobby Cagle joined Duncan as forum panelists, and responded to questions about the future of early education programs like Georgia’s pre-kindergarten program. The panelists spoke before an audience of APS parents, students and employees, elected officials and state and local activists.
For the students at Boyd, an APS year-round school, Friday marked the last day of school before breaking for summer, and having an Obama administration Cabinet member, the governor and the mayor at their school made the day even more noteworthy.
Prior to the discussion Steve Smith and Boyd Principal Keisha Gibbons escorted Duncan to one of Boyd’s fourth-grade classrooms, where he interacted with students. Then Duncan and Georgia’s first lady, Sandra Deal, took turns reading “Roar: A Noisy Counting Book” to Pre-K students.
Gibbons drew laughter from the audience when she revealed that after seeing the news cameras and security detail fanned out across the campus, her students wondered who would be visiting their school, and they reeled off one celebrity name after another.
Considering Boyd’s recent Pre-K assessment data, holding the event at the northwest Atlanta school was a suitable choice.
Data from the 2012-13 school year indicate that 100 percent of Boyd’s Pre-K students either demonstrated that they understood or had completely mastered the learning objectives for kindergarten readiness in math and reading/language arts. And the school’s kindergarten teachers have reported a noticeable difference in kindergarten readiness between students who attended Pre-K and those who did not.
These facts support the overarching theme of Friday’s discussion forum: early learning is the single biggest investment we can make to ensure that America’s children are on track to succeed in college and life.
“We have to ask if education is an expense or an investment,” said Duncan. “I believe it’s an investment. The president plans to invest $75 million to double the number of kids who have access to high-quality Pre-K,” Duncan added.
He emphasized that the goal is to radically change America’s educational structure.
According to Duncan the Obama administration wants to “find creative ways to partner with states like Georgia to increase access to high-quality early education.”
In 1993 Georgia became the first state to establish a statewide Pre-K program for four-year olds funded entirely with lottery revenues. Since then, Georgia has drawn considerable praise for its early education programs.
Last year, almost 58 percent of the state’s four-year-olds – roughly 83,000 children – were enrolled in Pre-K. But the numbers are far less impressive nationwide.
“Less than 30 percent of four-your-olds nationwide have access to an early learning program,” said Duncan.
Third-grader Imari Williams attended the event and agreed that early childhood education is critical.
“If I just sat around watching TV and playing all day instead of going to Pre-K, I don’t think I would have been ready for kindergarten,” Imari stated. “In Pre-K I learned to write, pronounce words and learn alphabets and numbers, so Pre-K is very important. It really helped prepare me for kindergarten.”
Thirty-four APS schools offer full-time Pre-K programs.
For those who missed this week’s Wednesday and Saturday registration dates for the APS 2012 Pre-Kindergarten lottery, there is one more opportunity Wednesday, June 13 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Kennedy Middle School, 225 James P. Brawley Dr., NW Atlanta 30314 to sign-up for this valuable education program.
The lottery drawing is scheduled to be conducted from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesday, June 20 and will be managed by Data Systems and Games, Inc. A certified public accounting firm will validate the results, which will be posted at each Pre-Kindergarten site by Monday, July 2.
Through the current state-funded Pre-K initiative, APS offers a comprehensive full-day program for approximately 850 four-year-old children. To participate in the APS Pre-K program, a child must be four years of age on or before September 1, 2012 and reside in an APS attendance zone or be the child of an APS employee.
Transportation will be provided for children who live more than a mile from their zoned elementary school. Children who enter Pre-K by way of the Special Needs Department will receive transportation to and from their school site.
Important information regarding required documentation for registration, along with the rules governing eligibility for the APS Pre-Kindergarten program, is posted on the district Web site at http://www.atlantapublicschools.us. Go to the Quick Links section in the upper right-hand corner of the home page and click on Pre-Kindergarten Program.
Georgia First Lady Sandra Deal to visit four APS schools to read to Pre-K students, emphasize literacy
Georgia First Lady Sandra Deal, the wife of Governor Nathan Deal, is scheduled to visit four APS elementary schools Friday, April 20, where she will read to Pre-K students in their classrooms as part of her effort to emphasize the importance of literacy, reading and early learning.
Mrs. Deal’s schools visit schedule includes stops at:
· Connally Elementary School, 1654 S. Alvarado Way, Atlanta 30311 at 9 a.m.
· Beecher Hills Elementary School, 2257 Bolingbrook Dr., Atlanta 30311 at 9:40 a.m.
· Kimberly Elementary School, 3090 McMurray Dr., Atlanta 30311 at 10:40 a.m.
· Continental Colony Elementary School, 3181 Hogan Rd., Atlanta 30331 at 11:45 a.m.
During each stop, Mrs. Deal will read to one or two classrooms of preschoolers, as well as talk to the children about the importance of making reading an important part of their everyday lives and becoming life-long readers.
Media representatives are invited to attend and cover these events. Note that since Mrs. Deal’s schedule includes a tight timeframe, it is important to arrive ahead of the scheduled arrival time at each location to be in position to cover the visits.
Atlanta Public Schools‘ lottery system will determine who gets the 880 state-funded pre-K slots in 44 APS classrooms at 32 sites. Parents can register their child for the 2011-12 school year if he or she is 4 years old on or before September 1, 2011. Following are key dates and locations (with mapping hyperlinked):
- Sat., April 16 (8 a.m.-6 p.m.) – registration at Maynard H. Jackson High School
- Thurs., April 21 (6 p.m.-9 p.m.) – registration at the Instructional Services Center at the Dean Rusk Building
- Sat., April 23 (8 a.m.-6 p.m.) – registration at Inman Middle School
- Fri., April 29 (12 p.m.-3 p.m.) – lottery drawing at the Instructional Services Center at the Dean Rusk Building
Additional information – such as addresses for registration sites and required documentation – will soon be posted on the APS Web site. Prospective parents can also call the Pre-K Program Office at 404-802-3640.