Three-year-olds who qualify under state criteria will be able to join Leander ISD’s prekindergarten program for the 2021-22 school year.

LISD's program will create combined classrooms for 3-year-olds and 4-year-olds at 15 early-childhood community sites. Existing staff and allocations will be used with minimal additional materials needed, said Kendra Winans, the executive director of state and federal programs. But additional staff can be added if enrollment is above projections. Half days would be from 7:40 a.m.-1:15 p.m.

“We do feel like this is an investment worth making for our students in Leander,” Winans said.

The school board approved the expansion March 26. LISD expanded from a half-day to a full-day prekindergarten program for the 2020-21 school year.

The prekindergarten program for 3-year-olds will be offered at Bagdad, Bush, Camacho, Cox, Cypress, Deer Creek, Faubion, Giddens, Grandview Hills, Knowles, Larkspur, Naumann, Plain, Pleasant Hill and Tarvin elementary schools. Bagdad, Bush, Faubion and Knowles elementary schools have bilingual programs.

The district said students who are ready for kindergarten are five times more likely to pass the third-grade reading assessment and six times more likely to be on track for college and career readiness in math.

Chief Academic Officer Matt Bentz said the district is in discussions with parents, teachers and principals about realigning early-childhood special education classrooms onto early-childhood community sites. Winans said more information could be shared with the board in two weeks.

Parents can register online in English or Spanish. According to LISD, eligibility criteria for prekindergarten includes:

  • unable to speak and comprehend the English language;

  • eligible to participate in the national free/reduced-price meal program based on family income;

  • homeless, as defined by 42 U.S.C. Section 1143a, regardless of the residence of the child, of either parent of the child, or of the child’s guardian or other person having lawful control of the child;

  • the child of an active-duty member of the armed forces of the United States, including the state military forces or a reserve component of the armed forces, who is ordered to active duty by proper authority;

  • the child of a member of the armed forces of the United States, including the state military forces or a reserve component of the armed forces, who was injured or killed while serving on active duty;

  • has ever been in the conservatorship of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services following an adversary hearing held as provided by Section 262.201, Family Code; or

  • the child of a person eligible for the Star of Texas Award under Section 3106.002, Section 3106.003, or Section 3106.004, Government Code.