Dothan Pre-K & K Teachers Tackle School Readiness

On July 23, 2013, the Houston County Children’s Policy Council along with Yes We Can! Dothan/Dothan Education Foundation, ASRA co-founder Alabama Partnership for Children, ASRA Pre-K Task Force member Jeff Coleman, Alfred Saliba Family Services, HIPPY, Dothan City Schools, Dothan HeadStart Preschool, Houston County Schools, Family Guidance Center of Alabama, Troy University-Dothan, Wallace Community College and the Wiregrass Foundation coordinated a Kindergarten Readiness Networking Event. At the event, kindergarten teachers came together with area pre-k, preschool and day care providers to share strategies for how to improve the current local kindergarten readiness rate of fifty percent. Kindergarten readiness brochures were handed out for programs to distribute to area parents.

Interested in hosting a Kindergarten Readiness event in your community?



Butler County Bright Beginnings Pre-K is a 2012 CLAS Banner School

This year, the Council for Leaders in Alabama Schools (CLAS) acknowledged the critical importance of early learning by selecting Butler County's Bright Beginnings Pre-K as one of its "Banner Schools."  The CLAS Banner School program was created in 2001 to recognize schools in Alabama that showcase outstanding programs and service to students.  Out of the 142 schools that applied in 2012, only ten received the coveted CLAS Banner School designation, and Bright Beginnings was the only early childhood-focused program to receive the award. 

Bright Beginnings Pre-K is part of Alabama's state-funded "First Class" pre-k program, which has received a number one ranking in quality from the National Institute for Early Education Research for six straight years.  While Bright Beginnings is open to all students that apply, more than 58% of its students are low-income. 

In 2011, 83 percent of Bright Beginnings students met kindergarten readiness benchmarks, compared to just 58% of all kindergarteners in the district. Given the critical need for high-quality pre-k in the area, Bright Beginnings has grown from just one classroom serving 18 students to five classrooms at three sites serving 270 students.

Bright Beginnings Leaders Receive 2012 CLAS Banner School award.


ASRA Pre-K Task Force Members Visit Jefferson County Classrooms


In May 2012, members of the ASRA Pre-K Task Force toured three very different Jefferson County pre-k classrooms during a recent site visit convened by ASRA and the United Way of Central Alabama. Although distinct, all three pre-k sites toured by the task force members benefit from high quality standards and innovative public/private partnerships.

Pre-K Task Force Co-Chair Mike Luce of Harbert Management was joined on the site visit by task force members Charles Collat, Sr. of Mayer Electric Supply, Drew Langloh of United Way of Central Alabama, and Kate Nielsen of the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham. The Pre-K Task Force members will use the strategies and best practices demonstrated in the three Jefferson County sites to develop short- and long-term strategies to increase state investments in high-quality, voluntary pre-k.

During the visit, Beth Johns of United Way and School Principal Johnnie Finkley led the Pre-K Task Force members on a tour of the four-year-old pre-k classroom at South Hampton Elementary School, a partnership between United Way Success by Six and the Birmingham City Schools. While South Hampton currently receives no state funding for pre-k, Principal Finkley told task force leaders that he could house two additional pre-k classrooms if the state would be willing to invest in them. South Hampton Elementary is one of the many "shovel ready" sites across Alabama that are eager to provide pre-k when the state's First Class Pre-K program has the funding to add new sites.

Later in the day, the business and philanthropic leaders on the task force toured state-funded First Class Pre-K classrooms housed at JCCEO Head Start and the corporate-sponsored Harris Early Learning Center.



Tuscaloosa Mayor Hosts 6th Annual 5K for Pre-K

Join the Alabama School Readiness Alliance and Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox for his popular race benefitting local pre-kindergarten programs!  The 6th Annual Mayor's Cup 5k, Run/Walk is scheduled for Saturday, April 28, 2012. The event will start and end in downtown Tuscaloosa. All proceeds for this event will benefit the Tuscaloosa Pre-K Initiative. Register now for this family friendly event.

RUN WITH ASRA!  Email Allison de la Torre at to join ASRA's 5K Team!

LEARN MORE and REGISTER on the Tuscaloosa City Website.


 How important is pre-K education? Put your best teachers there.

How important can school be for a 4-year-old?
Just let Dr. Marquita Davis, commissioner of the Alabama Department of Children's Affairs Office of School Readiness, tell you.

Pre-K programs - which prepare students for kindergarten - are so important that schools should put their best teachers with their youngest students, according to Davis.

Read what else she told the Alabama Association of School Boards here.

Decatur panel urges citywide pre-K classes

The 4-year-olds in Banks-Caddell Elementary School teacher Brenda Davis’ pre-kindergarten class practiced their counting and letters and learned about colors in less than an hour.

This is the type of instruction that Decatur principals said many of Morgan County's 4-year-olds are not getting. This puts those students behind when they enter kindergarted.

Read what community leaders are doing to help here.


Using Title I to Fund Pre-k: A Good Idea!

Communities all over the state and nation are blending a variety of funding sources to implement high quality pre-k. Guidance about the use of Title I funds recognizes the importance of pre-kindergarten programs in increasing student achievement. For more information on how your school district can use Title I dollars for pre-k, click here.

More resources:
Pre-K Now Resource Page on Title I use for pre-k

Birmingham looking at pre-k as dropout prevention

What if, with one wave of a magic wand, you could jump-start the economy in the Birmingham metropolitan area and:

+ Boost employee earnings by $29 million a year.
+ Raise tax revenue by $6.4 million a year.
+ Increase the gross regional product by up to $37 million.
+ Up the amount spent buying homes by $59 million.
+ Put $2.8 million more into buying vehicles.
What's the magic wand? Find out here.

The Tuscaloosa Pre-K Initiative

The Tuscaloosa Pre-K Initiative is an advisory board, composed of delegates from the City of Tuscaloosa, Tuscaloosa City Schools, University of Alabama, Stillman College, Congressman Artur Davis’ Office, private citizens and several community agencies and associations which will ensure the long-term goal that all children academically at-risk will have the opportunity for a quality pre-k education.  

Read the entire history of the Tuscaloosa Pre-K Initiative here.

Mobile County schools superintendent looks to create 3 new magnet schools

MOBILE, Ala. -- Mobile County schools Superintendent Roy Nichols said he'd like to create some new magnet schools to help ease magnet waiting lists that are 3,800-students long.

Nichols is also applying for a $12 million grant to establish pre-kindergarten magnets that would feed into the magnet elementary schools and eventually the middle schools. 

Read more at the Mobile-Press Register here.

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