Nixon-Smiley Consolidated Independent School District (NSCISD) is registering students for its new all-day pre-kindergarten program beginning in the 2019-2020 school year. The program is available for all children in district that will be aged 3-to-4-years-old by Sept. 1, 2019, though preference is given to students that meet qualifying standards such as need-based income, active military and foster care families. No tuition, lunch or transportation charges will be incurred by the participating families.
“At Nixon-Smiley CISD, we believe in the value of pre-K. Although we know that parents are their child's first and most important teacher, not all families have the luxury of a stay-at-home mom or dad for those crucial formative years,” NSCISD Superintendent Cathy Lauer said.
NSCISD previously provided half-day pre-K for qualifying 3-to-4-year-olds, as well as, a small number of all-day students that qualified via the Head Start program. The passage of Texas House Bill 3 spurred on NSCISD to expand its pre-K program to all-day. The bill provides funding for Texas school districts to offer all-day pre-K for qualifying 4-year-olds, but NSCISD will supplement the state money and provide the program for both 3-and-4-year-olds.
“We are opting to leverage this new funding by providing all-day pre-K for both 3-and 4-year-olds, above and beyond what HB3 stipulated,” Lauer said. “We will save a little money by eliminating the previously necessary mid-day bus routes and we will continue our partnership with Head Start. But we will still need to supplement the program by as much as $15,000-20,000.”
All 3-to-4-year-old children of NCISD employees will be allowed in as space allows. This new employee perk will be locally funded by the supplement Lauer mentioned.
Interested parents should contact the Nixon-Smiley Elementary office as soon as possible. Non-qualifying students will be accepted on a first come, first serve basis.
Currently there are plans for two 3-year-old classes capped at 17 students and four 4-year-old classes capped at 20 students. Lauer said the district would be open adding another section if it’s needed or combining a 3-and-4-year-old class to “balance the numbers a little better.”
The expansion to all-day pre-K is something Lauer had wanted to accomplish “for more than a decade.”
“I am more excited about this than almost anything I've had the opportunity to do as superintendent in NSCISD (and I've been doing this since April of 2004),” Lauer said. “You only need to spend a few minutes in a pre-K classroom to see how much those children love school and the opportunity we have to start them on a strong foundation. Every child will have two good meals a day, a scheduled nap time, learn early literacy skills, and experience the community of a classroom. I can't wipe the grin off my face!”