Parents interested in enrolling their children in the Pre-K lottery funded program in McDuffie County Elementary Schools can register at the school that serves their zone in an open enrollment April 11-15.
For the first time, students will be selected to fill the 40 slots at each of the three elementary schools through a lottery system, or drawing.
Parents can register anytime the week of open enrollment at the school for which they are zoned, and those unsure of which school may call the closest school or the central office to check.
The move to select students by drawing from a pool of names, approved by the McDuffie County Board of Education, puts an end to long lines of parents who showed up before 6 a.m. in past years on registration day to secure a place for their child at a particular school.
"I appreciate the opportunity to do this as a lottery. This gives every parent an equal opportunity to send their child to the McDuffie County School system," said Kathryn Collins, director of curriculum and instruction. Under the old system, some parents were unable to come early and stand in line and wait the day of registration because they had other obligations, such as being unable to take time off work.
Thomson, Dearing and Maxwell Elementary Schools will each offer two Pre-K classes with 20 students in each class. Names will be drawn and the classes will be filled Monday, April 18 at 2 p.m. at each of the three Pre-K schools. Only the names of students who were registered for Pre-K during the week of April 11-18 will be placed into the drawing pool. School board members are welcome to attend the drawing at any of the schools.
Once the classes are filled, additional names in the pool will be placed on a waiting list in the order in which they are drawn.
Parents will be notified in writing following the lottery drawing of their child's placement in Pre-K.
Parents of students on the waiting list will be notified as to their placement on the waiting list and their placement into the program as slots become available.
Students who do not receive a place in the public school system may still attend Pre-K through a private vendor. Qualifications for instructors are the same for both public and private vendors, and there are Pre-K programs in five locations other than the public schools: Little Lamb Child Care Center, Little Rascals Day Care, OWLS Preschool, Wee Tots Child Care, and Small World.
For parents to apply, Pre-K students must be four years old on or before Sept. 1, 2005, and be residents of Georgia. Established in 1993, Georgia's Pre-K Program is designed to provide four year olds with high-quality preschool experiences in preparation for kindergarten. The program serves 70,000 Georgia children this year and reaches a higher proportion of four-year-olds than any other state, according to the Bright From the Start website which includes Pre-K.