Released by Barbara Garrett with the Kilgore Chamber of Commerce:
KILGORE, TX - Preschoolers are having fun learning letters, numbers, shapes and how to write their names. These skills are also preparing them to be good learners when they go to Kindergarten next year.
Jody Clements, KISD Superintendent, said, "I believe that our Pre-K program is the most important program in our district. The research shows that what we do at the Pre-K level impacts students more than at any other level. We have worked diligently at Kilgore ISD to make our program one that will prepare our students to be successful throughout their school career. Our hard work has paid off by being recognized with this honor."
Kilgore Heights Elementary, Kids World and Tate's Cuddly Bear in Kilgore were among 836 statewide that were recently certified as Texas School Ready which means these Pre-K programs are offering some of the best possible early childhood education in the state. The project was authorized by the Texas Legislature in 2005 to build quality Pre-Kindergarten programs with a focus on ensuring that young Texans arrive at kindergarten ready for success. It now reaches children in over 240 Texas communities.
"States across the nation, including Texas, are supporting Pre-K initiatives that promote school readiness because Pre-K alone doesn't always cut it," said Rob Eissler (R-Woodlands), chair of the House Public Education Committee. "The debate has shifted toward promoting high quality Pre-K because when the quality components are in place, fewer kids get referred to special education, fewer kids repeat grade levels and fewer kids drop-out of school as they age through the public education system. These certified preschools are demonstrating that the taxpayer's investment in early education is producing the intended results."
For the third consecutive year, Texas saw the number of certified Pre-K Texas School Ready classrooms seeking this sought-after designation almost double. The only quality rating system of its kind in the nation, the Texas School Ready Certification System focuses on high quality early learning for children with accountability for program results that is both achievable and easily demonstrated.
"The Texas School Ready program was made possible because of the hard work of teachers, families and program administrators," said Rep. Tommy Merritt (R-Longview). "Because of this designation, these preschools are improving the quality of education for our children, and it takes the guess-work out of closing the achievement gap for young Texans, their parents, teachers and policymakers."
The Kilgore Chamber of Commerce also applauded the certified preschools for their success.
"We support educational measures that promise excellence so that those who eventually enter the workplace are prepared to succeed. Tomorrow's workforce depends largely on the educational foundation we lay today, and these certified preschools are focused on the type of quality that is producing great results for students," said Mike Coston.
Demand for the certification has outstripped resources, creating a waiting list of preschools eager to join the system. Open to school district Pre-K programs, licensed childcare (for-profit and non-profit) providers and Head Start centers across Texas, the School Ready Certification System links information provided by preschools with the early literacy and social outcomes that are the critical school readiness indicators to successes in Kindergarten.