By Michaela Gibson Morris/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Another pre-kindergarten classroom will be added to the school district’s Early Childhood Education Center later this month.
Because the district is receiving nearly $200,000 more than anticipated in federal Title I School Improvement funding, the Tupelo School District Board of Trustees approved the extra classroom and the teacher and assistant teacher to staff it at its Tuesday meeting.
“That’s 20 more children who are going to be prepared for kindergarten,” said school board president Amy Heyer. “That’s the best money we can spend.”
Children who have been through the center, which is located at King School, hold on to the advantage, said Interim Superintendent David Meadows.
“They sustain those gains through eighth grade and beyond,” Meadows said. “These are really the first steps in dropout prevention.”
The 12th classroom will bring enrollment at the center to 240 students, said federal programs director Dale Warriner.
The center has 47 children who are currently on a waiting list who have been screened. Warriner expects the slots to be filled completely from the waiting list, and she anticipates the first full day for the new classroom will be Sept. 21.
“Parents will be notified immediately,” Warriner said.
A number of factors will be considered including academic need, students from non-English-speaking homes, those with single parents or those who are considered homeless in prioritizing the children currently on the waiting list, Warriner said.