During her whirlwind first-day of school district tour, HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan stopped at Neff Early Learning Center, where she and other administration officials gathered to highlight to the media and community the expansion of pre-K education throughout the district.
“High-quality, full-day pre-K will continue to be a top priority in HISD,” Lathan said. “We must provide all children with a solid foundation as they embark on their educational journeys. Funding these programs are an investment in our children and our families.”
HISD’s full-day Pre-K program, which is offered to three- and four-year-olds, began in 2006. This school year, a total of 12 elementary campuses throughout the district will be expanding pre-K classrooms for a total of 38 pre-K rooms.
Those campuses are Neff Early Learning Center, Isaacs, R. Martinez, Rucker, Love, Browning, Shadowbriar, Askew, Mitchell, Garden Villas, DeAnda and Wesley elementary schools. Two schools – Hillard and Oates elementary schools – are implementing pre-K for the first time.
According to HISD Officer of Elementary Education Margarita Gardea, the high-quality program is essential to building a strong foundation of learning for students and supports the needs of the families it serves.
“Having an early start in education for all of our students is important. Studies show (pre-K) students are more likely to graduate from high school, get a college education and a high-paying job,” Gardea said. “If you have a three- or four-year-old sitting at home, we would welcome them. We want them on our campuses.”
During the press conference, Lathan took questions from reporters on a range of other topics facing the district this school year, including the HISD’s focus on expanding the “Every Community Every School” initiative and connecting more students with resources and wraparound services.
“We have added an additional 42 Wraparound Resource Specialists, which means there are now 140 HISD campuses with wraparound services available,’ Lathan said. “This school year there will be more accountability around wraparound services, and some campuses – depending on need – will have more than one wraparound specialist.”
Lathan took the time to also emphasize the district’s continued commitment to preparing students for the future through career and technical education (CTE). CTE has expanded to nine high schools throughout the district this school year, including at Waltrip High School, Madison High School, and Milby High School.
“We are excited this new year is bringing new opportunities and new beginnings, including the expansion of the district’s CTE programs,” Lathan said. “We have added CTE opportunities in graphic design, construction services, and cosmetology. I am excited that many more of our students will be able to graduate high school with an associate degree.”
For more information on PreK registration, visit houstonisd.org/prek. For additional information on CTE programs, visit http://www.hisdcareerreadiness.org.