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School system adds nearly 250 prekindergarten seats

Charles County Public Schools is expanding its prekindergarten program, adding room for about 250 more four-year-olds in seven elementary schools.

The additions are made possible as a result of the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education, also called the Kirwan Commission, recommendation that the state provide supplemental grant funding targeting early childhood education and expanding publicly funded prekindergarten programs.

The state awarded CCPS $1.2 million in prekindergarten supplemental grants specifically to increase the number of prekindergarten classes. The grant provides more access to free prekindergarten and the conversion of some programs from half-day to full-day. CCPS currently has seven Title I schools with full-day prekindergarten programs. CCPS is creating two full-day prekindergarten classes at Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer Elementary School at the start of the 2019-20 school year.

The following schools are receiving additional seats.

  • Arthur Middleton Elementary School receives one prekindergarten classroom, which adds seats for 30 regular education students and 10 special education students split between morning and afternoon classes.
  • William B. Wade Elementary School is adding one prekindergarten classroom with morning and afternoon classes. The addition will accommodate 40 regular education students.
  • Mary H. Matula Elementary School is adding one prekindergarten classroom with morning and afternoon classes. The addition will accommodate 40 regular education students.
  • Mary B. Neal Elementary School gains one inclusion prekindergarten classroom with morning and afternoon classes. The new classroom makes space for an extra 30 regular education and 10 special education students.
  • Jenifer’s half-day program will convert to two full-day prekindergarten classes, which adds seats for about eight regular education students. The conversion requires adding a teacher, two instructional assistants and one new classroom.
  • Berry Elementary School gains one prekindergarten classroom with a morning and afternoon class. The new classroom adds 40 regular education student seats.
  • Billingsley Elementary School opens in September with one prekindergarten class (morning and afternoon), which will serve 40 prekindergarten students.

Prekindergarten registration remains open. Students must be 4 years old by Sept. 1, 2019, to be eligible for prekindergarten. The Maryland State Department of Education sets the prekindergarten admission criteria and guidelines. Registration information is available at https://www.ccboe.com/index.php/online-registration.

The CCPS office of early childhood education continues to place category one students who are guaranteed admission. Staff has not yet assigned category two and three students, who are not guaranteed admission. CCPS will notify students who fall in categories two and three of program admission at a later date, possibly after the start of the 2019-20 school year.

New this school year is an online prekindergarten application process. Parents can also contact their child’s zoned elementary school to request information on how to register in person at school. School zone information is available on the school system website at http://redistrictingschoollocator.ccboe.com/default.aspx?load=addressInput.

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