The Cobb County School District will soon open its own pre-kindergarten center to prepare four-year-old children for kindergarten.
Superintendent Chris Ragsdale, who announced the move at the Cobb School Board’s Thursday meeting, said the pre-K center will open in August and serve between 250 and 300 students at the current Harmony Leland Elementary School building.
Students, faculty and staff at that school will move into the new Clay-Harmony Leland Elementary School building in Mableton later this year. The pre-K program will have four general classrooms and 10 classrooms for students with special needs.
“I am so excited that we will be able to support early learning for even more Cobb students,” Ragsdale said. “Research shows that students who enroll in high-quality early education programs are more likely to read on grade level by third grade and are better equipped for future success.”
Another pre-K center will open in August 2021 at the former Brown Elementary School in Smyrna, the school district said.
Georgia Pre-K programs are funded by the Georgia Lottery, and prepare four-year-old children for kindergarten. Children who are 4 years old on Sept. 1 of the current school year and live in Georgia are eligible to enroll.
Cobb’s pre-K center will open in partnership with the state Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL), the Atlanta Speech School, WellStar and Learn4Life. The school district will provide details about registration later this year after the program is approved by DECAL.
School board member Charisse Davis praised the superintendent’s announcement. Davis, who took office in 2019, said she’s been advocating for expanding pre-K options in Cobb County Schools since she was campaigning for office.
As a kindergarten teacher, Davis said she saw “how access to quality, age appropriate, pre-K programs can influence a child's school success.”
“Many families are simply unable to afford private preschools, and offering Georgia Pre-K in more schools helps set up our kids for success,” she said.
Her two sons went through Georgia Pre-K programs, and Davis said she was grateful they had the opportunity to attend these tuition-free programs.
“I appreciate the district leadership for finding ways to expand our offerings and creating what will essentially be early learning centers — housing some special needs pre-K classes and Georgia Pre-K classes together,” she said. “We will have to wait for state approval to see just how many Georgia Pre-K classrooms we will be able to add, but we are certainly moving in the right direction.”
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