Thanks to a state-funded grant, Maxwell Elementary will have an additional pre-k class next year.
Assistant School Superintendent Barry O'Neill made the announcement at the Board of Education planning meeting in June. Dr. O'Neill said MES currently had 43 children on a waiting list for the pre-kindergarten program.
"And 20 of those will go to the new class, so that's 20 happy families out there right now," Dr. O'Neill said.
Each year, the state funds a certain number of pre-kindergarten slots at each school. Last year, that was 80 slots for Maxwell Elementary and 40 for Dearing Elementary. The overflow students may attend state-funded pre-k at a participating childcare center.
"We thought we were not eligible for the grant because we have so many private providers here, but then we decided all they can do is say no," Dr. O'Neill said. "But they didn't say no, they said yes."
The grant will pay for the additional class as well as the materials to set up for the class, bringing the number of children in the pre-k program at Maxwell up to 100. Dr. O'Neill said MES already had the classroom space available.
The pre-kindergarten program readies children for school by teaching them social and communication skills and fosters their desire to learn by introducing educational concepts. The state-funded pre-k programs in childcare centers use the same curriculums the state offers the elementary schools. A lottery drawing is held each year to determine which of the registered students are placed in the schools and which ones may go to a childcare center.