Mobile County Public Schools received $130,000 from the state of Alabama to establish a new pre-kindergarten classroom at Collier Elementary beginning with the 2017-18 school year.
This will be the third pre-k classroom at Collier, located on Snow Road in west Mobile. And it will be Mobile County’s 59th pre-k class offering Alabama’s national-award-winning First Class Pre-K program.
Gov. Kay Ivey and the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education recently announced that the state’s First Class Pre-K program will add 122 new classrooms this fall. The new classrooms were made possible due to increased appropriations in the 2018 Education Trust Fund along with funding from year three of Alabama’s four-year federal Preschool Development Grant.
“A high-quality childhood education program has long lasting benefits on our society as a whole,” Gov. Ivey said. “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.”
MCPSS operates 16 First Class Pre-K sites at Just 4 in Toulminville. The remaining 43 sites are on campuses throughout the county.
Besides those, MCPSS has 25 blended pre-kindergarten classes throughout the county that serve seven special-education students and seven regular-education students apiece. Collier’s two existing units are blended classrooms.
With this new unit at Collier, which will be part of First Class, Mobile County will serve a total of 1,412 pre-kindergarten students.
Research shows that students benefit academically and socially by attending high-quality pre-kindergarten programs such as these. Students who complete high-quality pre-k are more likely to be successful in kindergarten and to eventually graduate from high school.
Alabama’s First Class Pre-K program is managed by the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education.
“We are very excited that we are able to make the state’s First Class Pre-K program available to more families in the upcoming school year,” said Jeana Ross, the secretary of the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education. “I look forward to when Alabama can make the program available to all families that with to enroll their four-year-olds.”
ADECE received more than 300 grant applications for new classrooms. The Department prioritized grants to communities that indicated the greatest need for additional classrooms.
Even with this expansion, there is a waiting list to attend pre-k classrooms throughout Alabama due to limited funding.
The announcement comes after the National Institute for Early Education Research named, for the 11th year in a row, Alabama’s First Class Pre-K program as one of the nation’s highest quality state-funded pre-kindergarten programs for four-year-olds. Alabama and Rhode Island are the only states with a pre-k program that meets or exceeds all 10 of the benchmarks NIEER measures to determine program quality.