Qualifications To qualify for free state funded pre-kindergarten you must: Be unable to speak and comprehend the English language Be educationally disadvantaged, which means a student eligible to participate in the national free or reduced-price lunch program Be homeless Be the child of an active duty member of the armed forces of the United States, including the state military forces or a reserve component of the armed forces, who is ordered to active duty by proper authority Be the child of a member of the armed forces of the United States, including the state military forces or a reserve component of the armed forces, who was injured or killed while serving on active duty Be in, or have been in, the conservatorship of the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) Be the child of a person eligible for the Star of Texas Award as a peace officer, firefighter, or emergency medical first responder

Despite the 2019-20 school year starting months ago, It’s not too late for children to start pre-kindergarten this year and Brazosport ISD has room in its classrooms, some at a discounted rate.

No matter how far along children are in their education, the district’s pre-K will bring them to the next level, said Clara Sale-Davis, chief academic improvement officer.

“We just add value to wherever they are,” Sale-Davis said.

The district now offers full-day pre-kindergarten at all of its elementary campuses and an affordable, tuition-based option for families who do not qualify for state-funded early childhood services, Superintendent Danny Massey said.

The low-cost tuition-based pre-K is $5,000 a year, he said. District employees who have 4-year-olds — there are about 30 right now — get half-price tuition of $2,500 a year, Massey said.

“That’s a huge employee benefit,” he said.

Mindy Young, college readiness specialist and master scheduler at Brazoswood High School, has her daughter Finlee enrolled in the discounted pre-kindergarten, she said.

“It cut our day care cost in half. Among all the other benefits of her being enrolled, that was definitely a bonus,” Young said.

She also enjoys the curriculum and certified teachers, she said. Finlee is learning something new every day, she said.

“I can tell by the way she talks and the questions she asks,” Young said. “She’ll say ‘Mommy, did you know?’ The difference has been amazing.”

The district continues to offer free full-day pre-K for those eligible and the district is still welcoming new students who qualify, Massey said.

Those students got first priority this school year, but the district has openings and is welcoming more students in, Sale-Davis said.

House Bill 3 from the last legislative session funded all-day pre-K in the district, Massey said. Officials are very appreciative that the Legislature understands the importance of an early start, he said.

Full-day pre-K began at Stephen F. Austin STEM Academy three years ago as a pilot program, Sale-Davis said. The new Freeport Elementary provided space for the Freeport feeder pattern to begin full-day last year, she said, and the new T.W. Ogg Elementary provided space to implement full-day in the Clute feeder pattern this year.

The HB 3 funding was implemented after school had already started, Sale-Davis said. So starting in October, the district began to offer full-day pre-K to the Lake Jackson feeder pattern for all eligible students, she said.

Space is currently available for students at Freeport Elementary, Griffith, Ogg, Polk and Ney, Sale-Davis said.

Though they are a couple of months into the school year, pre-K students can come in and start learning, Massey said. All of the teachers are certified and have an excellent curriculum to teach, he said.

Teachers can differentiate instruction based on a child’s needs, Sale-Davis said.

Pre-K gives students a firm foundation for learning how to read, write and do basic math, she said. But it also provides social skills, helps young children acclimate to a group setting and conditions them to the setting of school, she said.

Kids who attend pre-K are amply prepared to go to kindergarten and have a jump start on curriculum, Sale-Davis said.

“Their readiness is increased,” she said. “There are incredible gains in kids that come out of kinder after having pre-K experience.”

To register a child for pre-K, visit the administration building at 301 West Brazoswood Drive, Clute, or call 979-730-7000.

Grace Delgado and the staff in the early childhood office can advise parents, Sale-Davis said.

“I always say that college begins in pre-K,” she said.

Maddy McCarty is a reporter for The Facts. Contact her at 979-237-0151.

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