CULLMAN, Ala. – Governor Kay Ivey and the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education (ADECE) on Tuesday, June 20, 2023, announced the expansion of the Alabama First Class Pre-K program. The department will initially add 69 classrooms in 30 counties this fall, providing seats for more than 1,200 children. Included in the initial expansion will be new Pre-K classrooms at Cullman City Primary School (CCPS) and Vinemont Elementary School (VES).
Ivey’s office said the classrooms included in this first round are part of the governor’s specific education initiatives that include addressing turnaround schools and high needs areas as well as reducing wait lists for pre-k programs.
“Ensuring our youngest learners have a strong start to their educational journeys is one of my top priorities for my second term. Alabama continues to set the nationwide standard for success with the Alabama First Class Pre-K program,” said Ivey. “I am excited to see additional classrooms being awarded to areas of the state with low access and high rates of poverty. Providing all children, no matter their zip code, with a solid foundation in education is critical to the future success of our state.”
A release from Cullman City Schools said, “CCPS will receive $125,000 through the grant initiative, opening up more space and accessibility for pre-K students at the Cullman school, with the goal of giving more students the opportunity to have a strong start in education prior to entering kindergarten. The class will be taught by a certified teacher and will implement many of the instructional practices already in place at Cullman City Primary School.”
“This program is ranked as the nation’s highest quality state pre-kindergarten program,” CCPS Principal Elizabeth Shaddix said. “As the principal of Cullman City Primary School, I could not be more excited to offer this opportunity to 4-year-old students.”
Said VES Principal Kim Brown, “We are very excited to add another Pre-K classroom here at Vinemont Elementary. It gives our children access to an early childhood education. We have seen great results when those kids come into kindergarten. It’s been a blessing.”
“We are very appreciative of Governor Ivey and her office for this additional funding to add a Pre-K classroom at Vinemont,” said Cullman County Schools Superintendent Dr. Shane Barnette. “Last year, Cullman County added more Pre-K classrooms than any other district in the state. We support Pre-K because it helps prepare our young students for years of success.”
Last month, the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) ranked Alabama First Class Pre-K as the nation’s highest quality state pre-kindergarten program for the 17th consecutive year. Alabama leads the nation, while expanding program access to Alabama’s 4-year-olds.
“Through the leadership of Governor Ivey and the Alabama Legislature, Alabama’s state pre-k program continues to move toward the goal of serving 70% of Alabama’s population of 4-year-old children,” said Dr. Jan Hume, acting secretary of the ADECE. “Since the program’s creation in 2000, we continue to prioritize age appropriate, impactful early learning and development experiences for children and their families.”
The State’s investment in high-quality pre-kindergarten has led to substantial positive outcomes for children who participate in the program. Research on the program’s long-term impacts shows that students who participated in First Class Pre-K are more likely to be successful throughout their school careers than their peers who did not participate in the program.
Ivey signed the 2024 Education Trust Fund budget which included an almost $12 million increase for the Office of School Readiness that administers First Class Pre-K. The department will continue to ensure pay parity for all First Class Pre-K teachers with the same pay raise as K-12 public school teachers in the upcoming school year. The ADECE expects to fund additional classrooms in areas of the state with wait lists and other identified needs.
The list of new First Class Pre-K classrooms can be found at www.governor.alabama.gov/assets/2023/06/2023-2024-New-FCPK-Classrooms.pdf. For more information about First Class Pre-K visit, www.children.alabama.gov/first-class-pre-k.
More from CCPS
Visit the Cullman City Primary School PTO Facebook page (www.facebook.com/CullmanPrimarySchool) for a registration link. Selection for the program is based on a lottery system. If you have questions, please contact the Cullman City Primary School office at 256-775-0234.
Eligibility for the pre-K program at CCPS:
More from VES
Parents can register at https://prek.alaceed.alabama.gov.
Eligibility for the pre-K program at VES:
- Children aged 4 on or before Sept. 1, 2023 (FY23)
- Children must live within Cullman county limits
- Children must be fully toilet trained
- Required documents for enrollment: completed registration form, current utility bill (or proof of residency) and birth certificate. Upon acceptance, an Alabama immunization form will be required before your child enters school.
Tuition is $10 per week