Montgomery's Pre-K Program a Model For State

The following is a news release from Montgomery Public Schools.

Montgomery, ALA.  – Alabama Governor Bob Riley, Mayor Todd Strange, Superintendent Barbara Thompson, and other state and community leaders joined together today to celebrate a model pre-k partnership that has increased the number of Montgomery programs by three-fold.

"Using federal funds and grant monies, we are pleased we have been able to increase the number of pre-k classrooms in our schools by 16, bringing our total to 22 this year for the district," said Thompson. "We could have never accomplished this without our wonderful partners."

MPS pre-k classrooms are made possible by a variety of partners including the Alabama Office of School Readiness, Success by Six, Head Start, Title I Funds and the YMCA. The Montgomery Education Foundation is providing mentorships, training and helping coordinate partnerships in the districts 22 programs and community-based preschools.

"The Montgomery Public Schools program is certainly a model of what can happen when state and local governments, and the community come together to work toward a common goal," said Governor Riley. "I want to commend Superintendent Thompson and her community partners for working so hard to provide these critical opportunities for our children"

One of the most important elements of the Montgomery program is the implementation of the process where the district and community preschools are all working toward using the state's First Class Pre-K Program – nationally ranked as best in the nation – which is new to Montgomery. Each classroom receives assistance in reaching First Class standards, professional development, student/classroom assessment and classroom resources.

"Workforce development and dropout prevention begins in the early grades, not high school," said Strange. "This is a proactive step and one that will be a positive investment for Montgomery."

The next hurdle in the progress of the program is to continue to develop resources to sustain the current work and expand it to other MPS schools and community-based pre-schools.

"We currently are reaching just 16% of our four year olds," added Thompson. "That is a step in the right direction, but we need to make more classes available in pre-schools around the county. We want all children to start kindergarten ready to learn which leads to a reduced dropout rate and more students being successfully prepared for life."