Mobile County Public Schools has a flagship Pre-Kindergarten Program, Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley said in downtown Mobile on Wednesday, while he was here to address 2,000 Pre-K educators from across the state.
“They are doing a great job in this area,” said Bentley, who told the Pre-K teachers that they are the “rock stars” of education in Alabama for their commitment to the youngest of students.
Pre-K programs, the governor said, are “doing a great job all over this state, and certainly Mobile is.”
In January 2016, Mobile County converted 54 existing Pre-K classes to Alabama’s national award-winning First Class Pre-K model, making MCPSS the largest provider of high-quality Pre-K in the state. This summer, Mobile was able to open four additional Pre-K classes with funding from a state grant.
The Pre-K program is offered at the stand-alone Just 4 Developmental Lab in Mobile as well as in public schools across the county. Mobile County Public Schools serves more than 1,000 four-year-olds in the program and is considering expanding next year. Applications will be available in February on mcpss.com for students to attend Pre-K for the 2017-18 school year.
“Pre-K is going great here in Mobile,” said Paula Reese, who oversees Pre-Kindergarten for Mobile County Public Schools.
Research shows that Pre-K and the first few years of schooling are extremely important in establishing a foundation for future success.
“Pre-K students are more likely to graduate from high school and graduate on time. They are less likely to repeat a grade or need intense intervention,” Reese said. “Pre-K works.”
Gov. Bentley was here as part of the 11th Annual Alabama First Class Pre-K conference. This is the second year for the conference to be held in Mobile, due to a partnership with First Class Pre-K and Mobile County Public Schools; and the conference will be held here again next year.
Bentley visited Mobile County schools in December of 2015 to announce the school district’s conversion to First Class Pre-K. He is asking the Alabama Legislature to provide additional funding to continue to expand the program.
Mobile County adheres to First Class’ program and classroom guidelines and has been able to receive new materials, furniture, supplies and this free professional development for Pre-K and auxiliary teachers.
Alabama’s First Class Pre-K has been named the best in the country for 10 years running by The National Institute for Early Education Research. First Class is managed by the state’s Office of School Readiness, which is part of the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education.