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Hartselle Enquirer

CES to have First Class Pre-K

Crestline Elementary School recently received a School Readiness grant from the state for a First Class pre-school class that will start this fall.

F.E. Burleson Elementary received a grant for their pre-school two years ago, and Barkley Bridge Elementary received the same grant last year.

Crestline already has an E.C.L.I.P.S.E. pre-school class that offers early intervention for special needs children from birth to 2-years-old. These students are brought into the classroom after evaluation once they turn 3. The class consists of 50 percent typical peers, which is usually six to eight students.

The First Class pre-school will be totally separate from the E.C.L.I.P.S.E. pre-school, according to CES principal Robin Varwig.

“We will still have the E.C.L.I.P.S.E. class in addition to our new First Class pre-school class,” Varwig said. “They will be separate with different teachers and aides. Some people do put in applications for both pre-schools in the hopes of getting into one if they don’t get picked for the other, but I don’t look at it as a new competitor.”

Names of about 18-19 pre-schools applicants have been drawn to be in Crestline’s First Class pre-school. Applicants were already putting Crestline as one of their schools of choice before the grant was secured.

“There are several people who apply for the Hartselle pre-schools, so the central office draws names out of pot to be fair,” Varwig said. “Applicants are allowed the tell their first, second and third choice of schools, and Crestline already had a full class before we even knew we had the grant.”

The cost to students will be based on a sliding scale based on income like the other First Class pre-schools. Students from all over the county are allowed to apply and attend without out-of-district fees or waiting lists, but entrance into the pre-school does not give them priority for entrance into Hartselle City School’s kindergartens.

Crestline’s new pre-school will follow the same guidelines as the other First Class pre-schools, and it will be monitored throughout the year by outside representatives. CES has already been through pre-sight visits from the School Readiness group, and they will have more this summer.

The school system has agreed to pick up some of the start-up funds Crestline will face, but the pre-school is completely funded by the state. There are modifications that need to be done to the playground to meet guidelines, but Varwig said she is looking into grants that will cover those costs.

Varwig said she thinks this pre-school will be an asset to Crestline.

“We have all been working together for the past three or four years to get more pre-schools in the North Alabama area,” Varwig said. “These First Class pre-schools will offer a more structured education program than most daycares. We will have the advantage of offering early education in a friendly child-development way. Studies show that children from a good pre-school are more likely to graduate high school and have better test scores. It should also help lower income families have access to a quality pre-school they may not have been able to afford before.”

Crestline’s First Class pre-school will follow the same fee schedule as Burleson and Barkley Bridge.

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