Amarillo ISD expanding all-day pre-k programs thanks to House Bill 3

Education

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Funding from House Bill 3 is allowing Amarillo ISD to expand its all-day prekindergarten programs.

This school year, 11 pre-k campuses will have full school days.

Amarillo ISD’s Carver Early Childhood Academy already has eight full-day pre-k sections. This upcoming school year, 10 more of the district’s 28 pre-k campuses will follow suit.

  • Glenwood Elementary
  • Hamlet Elementary School
  • Landergin Elementary
  • Mesa Verde Elementary
  • Oak Dale Elementary
  • Pleasant Valley Elementary
  • Rogers Elementary
  • South Lawn Elementary
  • Sunrise Elementary
  • Wolflin Elementary

“Well really, our end goal is that all of our pre-k campuses that service our 4-year-olds will be full-day, but we’re going to make sure that we phase into that so that we have enough space and teacher availability as well,” said Brittany Hinz, AISD Early Childhood specialist.

Judy Williams, associate dean of the College of Education and Social Sciences at West Texas A&M University said research shows a full day of pre-k is good for children. The curriculum will stay the same, but with a full day, Williams said teachers will have more time to provide enrichment opportunities for kids.

“That’s a positive, especially for children who perhaps come from homes where there’s not a lot of parental involvement in their early childhood development,” said Williams. “Those early grades are extremely, extremely important in providing that foundational knowledge that children must have if they’re going to be academically successful.”

Hinz said while enrolling your child in pre-k is not required, it gives them a jump start, and full-day pre-k saves parents money on childcare.

“There will be a lot of benefits, and like I said, eventually we want everybody to be full-day. But our half-day students are still getting that quality pre-k program as well and all of our teachers, regardless of whether they’re half-day or full-day, they are highly qualified and we’re going to make sure that every student is getting what they need,” said Hinz.

Williams told us while it is costly for the state, full-day pre-k will bring more teaching jobs to our area.

Hinz said so far, AISD has hired 11 teachers and 11 full-time assistants for pre-k programs.

This upcoming school year, AISD will have 26 full-day pre-k classrooms. The district will spend $85,000 to buy furniture, materials, and supplies for these classrooms.

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