Process for entry into expanded program was interrupted by pandemic
St. Charles Parish Public Schools will collect Pre-K applications in May after the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted a process that began in February.
The school district will collect applications May 5-8. Applications can be printed online or paper copies are available at each drop-off site. Each application must come with all required documentation and must be submitted in person by a parent or legal guardian between 9 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. each day at Carver Early Learning Center (337 Gum St., Hahnville) or Eastbank Head Start Center (13292 River Road in Destrehan).
“The closure of schools delayed the initial process so this will be our first round of placements,” said Angelle Babin,executive director of elementary schools in St. Charles Parish. “Applications will continue to be accepted after May 8.”
To ensure safety, those dropping off applications will be met at their vehicle’s window and are asked to remain in the vehicle. Each driver will be directed to a designated tent to complete the process. The student does not have to be present.
Eastbank and Westbank students will each be split into two groups based on the letter their last name starts with. For those applying in Hahnville, applications for students with last names beginning A-L will be accepted on May 5, students M-Z on May 6. For those applying in Destrehan, A-L applications will be accepted May 7, and M-Z applications on May 8.
All students must be 3 or 4 years of age on or before Sept. 30.
Parents residing in the parish will have approximately double the opportunity to enroll their children in local Pre-K classes after an approximately $1.3 million expansion plan will provide one additional four-year-old class at each of six elementary schools, Allemands, Luling, Mimosa Park, New Sarpy, Norco and St. Rose, providing a total of 120 additional slots. The St. Charles Parish School Board unanimously approved a plan to expand its Pre-K program at the board’s October meeting.
Babin said the measure to strengthen the district’s Pre-K opportunities came from the belief that earlier development and education has proven to be a major boon for students who have been exposed to it.
“(The district is able) to service more children in our community,” Babin said. “Our goal is to prepare all students for their futures so we want to provide more access to high-quality early childhood education programs within our school system. By focusing on the development of the child, both academically and socially, we can help them to be ready for future success in kindergarten.”
Originally, the majority of available slots for the classes were to be filled by April 1. But when schools were closed statewide in March and a stay-at-home order was issued by Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, it threw a wrench into the process.
Parents or guardians must provide the child’s original birth certificate, social security card, Medicaid/insurance card, and immunization record along with a completed application. Other documents needed (if applicable) include a parent or guardian’s identification; a printed copy of three recent check stubs (not from current month) or employment verification letter/W2 forms/unemployment verification of workman’s compensation for each working parent in the child’s home; a printed copy of alimony or child support; verification of social security benefits; documentation showing current status as a recipient of public assistance; proof of residency (a printed copy of two different utility bills in parent or guardian’s name will suffice); and copy of school transcript or verification of enrollment if one or both parents are in school.
Kindergarten registration was also opened on April 27, with families able to register online using a computer or smart phone. Supporting documents will be collected at a later date.
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