St. Charles Parish parents will have approximately double the opportunity to enroll their child locally in pre-kindergarten classes, as the parish’s School Board unanimously approved a plan to expand its Pre-K program at the board’s October meeting.
The approximately $1.3 million expansion plan will provide one additional four-year-old class at Allemands, Luling, Mimosa Park, Norco, New Sarpy and St. Rose elementary schools, in all opening the doors for 120 additional students to enroll. The new classes will go into effect for next school year, 2020-21.
According to Stevie Crovetto, St. Charles Parish Public Schools spokeswoman, the expansion comes as part of an effort to service more early learners in the parish community.
“The investment in early childhood education is aimed at preparing more children for entry into kindergarten, reducing learning gaps, and improving children’s cognitive abilities, sociability and motivation,” Crovetto said. “Research shows that early education plays a critical role during this important development period of a child’s life and lays a solid foundation for their success in school and the future.”
Crovetto said while funding for early childhood education on national and state levels is limited, the school system and board were committed to finding a way to provide additional opportunities, and the expansion of pre-kindergarten enrollment was the avenue to doing that.
Angelle Babin, the school district’s Executive Director of Elementary Schools, called it an exciting opportunity and said the move is all about providing more parish families the chance to better prepare their children for kindergarten without having to seek it elsewhere.
“The feedback we’ve had is that they’ve been looking for this opportunity,” said Babin. “We looked at what we could do … we have our head start site and our six school locations that offer pre-kindergarten. So adding another class to each one, adding accessibility to achieve kindergarten readiness and serve 120 additional students, it’s nothing but a win for everyone in our community.”
Babin said an additional teacher will be hired at each site to take on the classes.
The matter was a major priority for the board over the summer and as the school year got underway.
“That definitely made it my mission to assist in expediting the process as much as we could by gathering as much information as possible to inform that decision,” Babin said.
Crovetto said the expansion is one of several efforts focused on preparing children to be kindergarten-ready. She added information on the application process will be shared in the spring.