School districts in Dallas, Fort Worth and across North Texas are making a big push this week to get parents to enroll their kids in pre-kindergarten.
The Fort Worth Independent School District isn’t just printing out flyers about pre-K. It’s producing commercials – in English and Spanish. They feature kids and Superintendent Kent Scribner touting the benefits of pre-K.
“In pre-K we learn letters, counting, science, reading, writing…,” the kids sing.
In Fort Worth, all eligible 4 year-olds can enroll in full day, free pre-K classes. Students who come from low-income families, are homeless or don’t speak English get priority for available spots.
Here's Fort Worth ISD's pre-K commercial in English:
In the Dallas Independent School District, officials are touting the growth of their pre-K program.
“We saw this school year compared to last school year, an increase of more than 1,000 new students in pre-K where we reached 11,500 [students] for the first time in Dallas ISD history,” said Derek Little, assistant superintendent for early learning.
Little says Dallas has nearly doubled the size of its half day pre-K program for 3 year-olds. In the fall, 50 campuses will offer it.
The district is also expanding its tuition-based pre-K program to 19 campuses. This is for families who don’t meet the federal guidelines for free pre-K.
District officials are expanding pre-K by partnering with child care centers.
“So families who need longer hours or maybe they have a one-year-old and a four-year-old and they just want to have all their children at one place, don’t have to choose something outside Dallas ISD but rather can get the same benefit of a Dallas ISD classroom at the center where they already were,” Little said.
In recent years, school districts have been trying to get more students enrolled in pre-k because of research showing it helps prepare kids for school.
In Dallas, Little said, kids who attended pre-K did better on kindergarten literacy assessments than kids who didn’t.
Here's Fort Worth ISD's pre-K commercial in Spanish: