Fort Smith Schools Working To Expand Pre-K Program

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FORT SMITH (KFSM) — Administrators at Fort Smith Schools are working to expand the district’s pre-kindergarten program for the 2016-2017 school year.

The district requested an additional 80 preschool slots through a grant provided by the Arkansas Better Chance program this week, according to Sarah Biggs, who is the district’s Supervisor of Early Childhood Education, Parent and Community Services.

If the grant funding is approved, the district will also be able to add another four pre-k classrooms at existing elementary schools.

“We are so excited about the opportunity to expand our quality preschool services for our Fort Smith children,” Biggs said. “Fort Smith has a need for high-quality preschool programs and we currently have childrenĀ that aren’t being served. We want to provide our educators and kids with that opportunity.”

Currently, Fort Smith’s pre-k program serves 500 children, ages three and four, between 13 elementary schools. If the grant is approved, 17 out of the 19 elementary schools would have pre-k classrooms in the fall. Trusty and Sunnymede were not written into the grant because of space and facility limitations. However, those families will still be served at Morrison and Pike Elementary.

A decision on the pre-k funding should be made by early May.

Meanwhile, educators are busy preparing for pre-k registration, which starts on Monday (April 4). It will be held at the Parker Center at 811 North T Street. Parents are required to bring their child’s social security card, proof of income and residence, state-issued birth certificate, current immunization record and a current physical exam performed by a physician.