Signs around Warrenton in the last two weeks tout a program that kicks off this week with the beginning of the school year — free pre-kindergarten classes that will be in operation at Daniel Boone Elementary, Rebecca Boone Elementary and Warrior Ridge Elementary.
The new pre-K program has been created in a partnership between the Warren County R-III School District and Youth in Need, which provides counseling and education development for more than 10,000 families in a six-county area in eastern Missouri. The agency currently operates the Marvin Marks Child Development Center and Warren County Head Start office in Warrenton. Youth in Need will fund approximately 40 percent of the $163,702 program.
Each elementary school can accommodate 20 students in separate morning and afternoon sessions. Overall, the program will be open to 120 students, with 28 spaces occupied by Head Start students. The remaining spots will be filled by children from the community on a “need based” basis.
Superintendent Dr. Tom Muzzey reported to the school board at its Aug. 9 meeting that the response to the program has picked up as the school year has neared. Muzzey said last week that 28 pre-K students were enrolled in Rebecca Boone Elementary’s two sessions, and that 25 had signed up for classes at Daniel Boone, while 19 were enrolled in the program at Warrior Ridge.
“We expect the numbers to rise in the next several days,” Muzzey told the board last Thursday.
As of Monday this week, Muzzey said 20 spots were still available.
Students will have access to the district’s breakfast and lunch programs.
Administrators say a key goal of the new program is to help provide a seamless transition for students since a consistent curriculum will be taught as they enter kindergarten.