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First Class Pre-K classroom coming to Thorsby

By JOYANNA LOVE/Senior Staff Writer

Chilton County Schools has been awarded a grant to start a First Class Pre-K classroom at Thorsby High School.

This will be the first such classroom for Thorsby and will mean every area of the county will have a preschool classroom.

“Our goal for our school system was to have at least one pre-k unit in each school,” CCS Department of Teaching and Learning director Ashley Harrison said. “We accomplished that this year by adding the unit at Thorsby. We felt it was important for Thorsby to add this unit so that all communities in our school district will have the opportunity to have students in the pre-k program.”

Grants were also received for one additional classroom at Maplesville, Isabella and Verbena.

“We are very excited about these classrooms,” Harrison said. “We feel like it is helping build a foundation in our students that will help them excel as they begin Kindergarten a year later.”

Harrison commented that the school system received funds for all of the new classrooms it applied for.

“Each grant funds a Pre-K teacher, a Pre-K teacher assistant, classroom supplies and furniture as well as funds for a playground area,” Harrison said.

Additional classrooms are applied for based on the recommendations of school-level administrators. Each of the classrooms serves between 16 to 18 students.

The classrooms are for 4-year-olds only.

With the four additional classrooms, Chilton county Schools will have approximately 300 pre-kindergarten students this coming school year.

“We have had a great response to the pre-k programs,” Harrison said. “All of our school shave had waiting list each year.  That is one of the reasons we applied for additional units at each of the K-12 schools.”

Pre-registration for this coming school year (2019-2020) is already open and can be completed at alprek.asapconnected.com.

The four new classrooms coming to Chilton County are a part of 164 new First Class Pre-K classrooms that were awarded funds across the state.

A recent press release for Gov. Kay Ivey’s office says this is the “largest ever single-year expansion of First Class Pre-K.” This was made possible by an increase in funding for the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education approved by the Alabama Legislature at Ivey’s recommendation.
“Alabama’s First Class Pre-K program is truly the model of the nation,” Ivey said in a press release. “By adding 164 classrooms, we are ensuring more of our youngest learners are getting a strong start to their educational journeys, which will lead them to an even stronger finish in their careers.”

First Class Pre-K teachers will also receive a 4% increase in pay, just as K-12 teachers.