With the St. Charles Parish Public School district set to debut its expanded pre-kindergarten program for the 2020-21 school year, the district is currently accepting applications for its Pre-K and Head Start programs.
Applications can be picked up at both Head Start Program locations, all elementary schools, the School Board Office or downloaded on the School District’s website. However, applications must be submitted in person at George Washington Carver Early Learning Center or East Bank Head Start by April 1 to be included in the 1st round of selections and placements.
Program sites are Allemands, Luling, Mimosa Park, New Sarpy, Norco and St. Rose elementary schools, G.W. Carver Early Learning Center and East Bank Head Start.
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 the aforementioned six elementary schools, 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.
All students must be three or four years of age on or before Sept. 30. Free transportation is provided for students ages four or older.
Applications are not first come, first serve, said Angelle Babin, executive director of elementary schools. Eligibility and placements are based on age, residential area and income.
“The majority of the available slots are filled at that time (April 1) but applications are accepted at any time to fill all vacancies,” Babin said.
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.”
The united support was fortified during the school board’s summer retreat in June of last year.
“The School Board recognized the need to expand early childhood education opportunities in our district,” Babin said. “The investment in our students is worth the cost and early childhood education programs provide students with the social and academic supports needed in their learning development. The goal is to reduce learning gaps, improve cognitive ability, sociability, and motivation while laying a solid foundation for success in school and the future.”
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.
Applications are accepted Monday-Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., expect during summer months (June 1 through July 16). During that time, applications are accepted Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.