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RCS announces two new Pre-K classes

Thanks to what being termed “a concrete plan to reduce overcrowding in the system,” West Elementary School recently applied for and received grants that will secure two new Pre-K classes through Alabama’s First Class voluntary pre-K program, which will bring the total number of Pre-K classes offered at WES to three.

Those grants – one for $120,000 and the other for $82,800 – were part of 155 similar grants awarded by Gov. Robert Bentley May 17 to expand Alabama’s First Class voluntary Pre-K program and make learning opportunities more readily-available to children across the state.

According to a press release from the governor’s office, grants were awarded based on several criteria including local needs, local demand and assurances of high quality standards at the new and expanding pre-K sites.

Superintendent Heath Grimes said, based on this criteria, these additional Pre-K classes would not have been possible if the overcrowding issue within the system had not been addressed first. Grimes said information gathered from a survey sent home to parents of out-of-district students in April showed RCS should expect approximately 300-400 students to enroll in other school systems for the 2016-17 school year.

“Had we not been able to show that we would have sufficient space to house these two new classes, we couldn’t have even applied for these grants,” Grimes said. “As it was, every single bit of available space was being utilized at WES because we had so many students enrolled there. But with a plan in place to reduce the overcrowding, we will have room to expand our Pre-K program and give more children in our area a chance to be part of a high-quality Pre-K class that will serve to prepare them for their future education.”

WES Principal Deanna Hollimon said these new classes will be an asset at the school.

“We are thrilled to receive funding for two additional Pre-K units,” Hollimon said. “We have seen firsthand the benefits of the program from students who have been through it and have entered our kindergarten. They have a stronger foundation in language and numeric literacy as well as a greater ability to be creative in art, music, and play.

“The program also helps the children build stronger social skills. It’s definitely a positive step in the right direction for the children in our community who qualify for the program.”

WES is continuing to accept applications for the Pre-K program. Applications can be picked up at the WES office. More information can be found on the WES website.

Enrollment is open to all children who will have had their fourth birthday on or before Sept. 1, 2016, and are residents of the state of Alabama. The registered applicant must meet residency requirements and present the necessary documents set forth by the program and the district at the time of registration.

Criteria and acceptance for Pre-K program:

The 18 Pre-K allocations for each classroom will be designated for residents of Russellville first. If, during registrations for the program, the number of Russellville students does not reach the required student enrollment, the Russellville Board of Education may authorize the option of enrolling students outside the Russellville city limits.

Required documents for pre-K registration include:

  • Completed Family Information form
  • Birth certificate or court records showing student’s parents, custody parent or legal guardian
  • Deed, lease or rental agreement for a property inside the Russellville city limits in which the student resides with the parent(s), custodial parent or legal guardian
  • Current utility bill with a matching address of the above listed deeded or leased property
  • Income verification for 2015
  • Medicaid or other insurance card
  • Alabama Department of Health Blue Card (record of immunizations)

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