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Full-day pre-K plan presented

by | Mar 29, 2023 | Latest

As the deadline to implement a full-day prekindergarten program for eligible students approaches, Wylie ISD is on schedule to clear the bar one year early.

Deputy Superintendent Kim Spicer presented a plan to create full-day prekindergarten for all 4-year-olds in Wylie ISD boundaries beginning with the 2024-2025 school year during the Monday, March 20, board of trustees meeting. Previously, the district applied for two three-year waivers to delay the implementation after the 86th Legislature created the requirements.

“When they first rolled out this plan, I was not super excited,” Spicer said. “From my limited experience with full-day pre-K programs, they have more embedded recess and nap time. I wasn’t necessarily convinced of the academic return our students would receive.”

However, Spicer said anecdotal evidence from kindergarten teachers in the district convinced her of the academic merits of the change. This year, the district has seven full-day pre-K sessions and six half-day.

By the 2024-2025 school year, there will be 19 full-day sessions housed at Dodd, Hartman and Smith elementary schools. The district also plans to adopt an inclusive prekindergarten model that houses general education and students with disabilities in the same classrooms. 

That would allow the district to have 22 students in a classroom — 17 general education and five students with disabilities — with one dually certified teacher and two paraprofessionals, said Spicer. Bilingual prekindergarten would still be offered, she added with a certified bilingual teacher and one paraprofessional.

Beyond satisfying annual accountability standards established by the Texas Education Agency, Spicer said it would help the district assess student needs more accurately.

“When they never have the opportunity to interact with the general education pre-K kids, you don’t get that data,” Spicer said. “Providing an inclusive pre-K environment will allow us to get better data on each student to figure the best placement for that student going forward.”

To help meet the requirements, there is a need to add one additional teacher and 10 paraprofessionals, she added, along with a one-time $28,000 expenditure to purchase furniture and educational materials. Spicer’s presentation was solely for information and did not require action.

For the full story, see the March 29 issue of The Wylie News.

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