4 Escambia County, Ala. Pre-K programs included in expansion of Alabama First Class Pre-K program

Published 10:18 am Tuesday, June 20, 2023

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By Staff Reports

Four Escambia County Pre-K programs were included in expansion of the Alabama First Class Pre-K program, which was announced by Gov. Kay Ivey and the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education (ADECE).

The classes included at A.C. Moore Elementary Pre-K, Flomaton Elementary Pre-K, Pollard McCall Jr. High Pre-K and W.S. Neal Elementary Pre-K.

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The department will initially add 69 classrooms in 30 counties this fall, providing seats for more than 1,200 children, according to Ivey’s office. The classrooms included in this first round are part of the governor’s specific education initiatives that include addressing turnaround schools and high needs areas as well as reducing wait lists for pre-k programs.

“Ensuring our youngest learners have a strong start to their educational journeys is one of my top priorities for my second term. Alabama continues to set the nationwide standard for success with the Alabama First Class Pre-K program,” Ivey said in a release. “I am excited to see additional classrooms being awarded to areas of the state with low access and high rates of poverty. Providing all children, no matter their zip code, with a solid foundation in education is critical to the future success of our state.”

Last month, the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) ranked Alabama First Class Pre-K as the nation’s highest quality state pre-kindergarten program for the 17th consecutive year. Alabama leads the nation, while expanding program access to Alabama’s 4 year olds.

Ivey signed the 2024 Education Trust Fund budget which included an almost $12 million increase for the Office of School Readiness that administers First Class Pre-K. The department will continue to ensure pay parity for all First Class Pre-K teachers with the same pay raise as K-12 public school teachers in the upcoming school year. The ADECE expects to fund additional classrooms in areas of the state with wait lists and other identified needs.