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AISD Doubles Capacity to Teach Prekindergarten for 3-Year-Old Students in 2016-17

Partners make expansion possible to 15 classrooms at 13 schools

Next year, Austin ISD will nearly double its capacity to teach prekindergarten for 3-year-olds (Pre-K3) thanks to contributions from local donors.

“When students have a strong start, they have a strong future,” Superintendent Paul Cruz said. “We want make sure all students are given a path to success. Starting early improves the chance that students graduate college-, career- and life-ready.”

AISD, with the help of its partners, is adding Pre-K3 to 13 more schools. The schools are Barrington, Casey, Harris, Houston, Jordan, Kocurek, Metz, Ortega, Palm, Perez, Read, Sanchez and Widen elementary schools.

Just three years ago, AISD offered the Pre-K3 program to 42 3-year-old students at two pilot schools. This year the district taught 550 3-year-old students and, next year, there is space for more than 1,000 students.

The partners who made this expansion possible are Buena Vista Foundation, Cullen Family Charitable Foundation, the Gottesman Family, Tapestry Foundation and Eric Stumberg with support from United Way for Greater Austin.

“I’m so honored to work with passionate and committed philanthropists, who understand the impact of starting early to ensure every child has the opportunity to be successful in school and in life,” said Michelle Wallis, executive director for AISD’s Office of Innovation and Development. “We hope others join them in continuing to expand Pre-K for 3-year-old students in the coming years.”

Early Childhood Director Jacquie Porter emphasized the strong foundation students build in Pre-K.

“Prekindergarten is more than just shapes and colors. It’s about getting students ready for life,” Early Childhood Director Jacquie Porter said. “In prekindergarten, students learn socializing, social and emotional learning, and how to work with others. “

Registration for Pre-K is open through the beginning of the school year. However, capacity at some schools will fill up quickly, so families are encouraged to sign up soon.

To be eligible for enrollment in the Pre-K program, a child must be 3-years-old on or before Sept. 1 of the current school year, live in the district, and must:

  • Be unable to speak and/or comprehend the English language; or
  • Be educationally disadvantaged (qualify for free/reduced-price lunch); or
  • Be homeless, as defined by 42 U.S.C. Section 11302; or
  • Be the child of an active duty member of the armed forces of the United States; or
  • Be the child of a member of the armed forces of the United states who was injured or killed while serving on active duty; or
  • Currently or ever have been in the conservatorship of the Department of Family and Protective Services following an adversary hearing under Family Code 262.201.

For more information on Pre-K3, please call 512-414-PREK.

To learn about opportunities to support early childhood, please call Michelle Wallis at 512-414-4850.

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Prekindergarten at AISD

Prekindergarten is a special program for eligible 3- and 4-year-old students. The prekindergarten program is designed to meet the needs of a child's early years, which are a period of rapid growth. It is during this period that key concepts are developed, which directly correlate to a student's future academic success. For many families, prekindergarten is the introduction to the public school system.