WSH Harlan gets Pre-K program

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 1, 2017

W.S. Harlan Elementary School received a $120,000 First Class Pre-K program grant to start its first pre-K program.

WSH is one of 122 new First Class classrooms for the next school year.

On Wednesday, Gov. Kay Ivey and the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education announced the new classrooms.

With the added classroom in Covington County, every elementary school in the county, except Fleeta, now has at least one Pre-K class. Andalusia, Opp and Straughn each have multiple classrooms.

The new classrooms were made possible due to increased appropriations in the fiscal year 2018 Education Trust Fund budget, along with funding from year three of Alabama’s four-year federal Preschool Development Grant.

“A high-quality childhood education program has long lasting benefits on our society as a whole,” Ivey said. “Investment in our people through education, no matter at what level, is an investment in economic development. I am proud that we are now offering our nationally accredited First Class Pre-K program to more Alabama children and families.”

ADECE received more than 300 grant applications for new classrooms.

According to a press release from the governor’s office, the department prioritized grants to communities that indicated the greatest need for additional classrooms.

Demand for enrollment continues to exceed the number of classroom available.

Covington County Schools Superintendent Shannon Driver said county officials are excited to be able to offer a Pre-K class to the Florala and Lockhart communities.

“This will meet a need in that community,” he said. “And it will help more kids prepare for kindergarten. We are looking forward to getting everything in place.”

Driver said he plans to meet with WSH Principal Joy Colvin this week to get a game plan.

“There are a lot of regulations from the state level we must follow,” he said. “We have to get our personnel in place, and we will start getting ready to take applications real soon for the students.”

Driver said he thinks that they will be able to handle the classes personnel-wise by doing some reassignments of teachers already employed at WSH.

“We are not looking to hire another person,” he said. “I don’t know who the teacher will be.”

Driver said that WSH applied for the classroom back during the application window.

“We are just adding one pre-k per school when we can,” he said.

Colvin echoed Driver’s excitement.

“We are very excited,” she said. “We have had a lot of interest. This will give all kids in our area the opportunity to attend a reputable pre-k program.”