Conroe ISD debuts pilot full-day pre-K programs at Sam Houston, Houser

The Texas Education Agency released its 2018-19 accountability ratings on Aug. 15.

The Texas Education Agency released its 2018-19 accountability ratings on Aug. 15.

Conroe ISD has started a pilot program to offer full-day pre-K at two of its elementary campuses this fall.

House Bill 3, the state’s public education finance reform bill, was signed into law June 11. Part of the bill mandated school districts offer full-day pre-K to eligible 4-year-olds, which include students who receive free or reduced-price lunches and those who have difficulty speaking English.

CISD Director of Communications Sarah Blakelock said the pilot will be at Sam Houston and Houser elementary schools, selected based on their locations and classroom space.

Blakelock said Sam Houston is anticipating 82 pre-K students for the pilot, and Houser anticipates 39.

“The pilot will allow the district to monitor the program[’s] implementation on a small scale before expanding the program districtwide,” Blakelock said. “Full-day pre-K will also allow students more time for academic and social [and] emotional development.”

Following the pilot program, CISD plans to start offering full-day pre-K options at all campuses currently offering half-day programs.

At a June 5 board meeting, Deputy Superintendent Chris Hines said CISD will serve 1,468 pre-K students in the 2019-20 school year. He said he believes early education can have a huge effect on a child’s education.

“The acquiring of those skills early really makes a difference. Once gaps grow, it’s very difficult for students to close the gaps,” Hines said. “It really is about trying to target students for accelerated learning rates.”

CISD trustee Scott Moore suggested constructing a specialized pre-K center to serve the some of the more densely populated areas in the district, but the board agreed more research was needed.

School districts have access to two three-year vouchers to extend the deadline for the mandate to provide the necessary facilities. CISD officials have indicated the district plans to use at least one voucher.

At an Aug. 20 board meeting, Chief Financial Officer Darren Rice said the program would cost about $5 million to start, not including the cost of additional classroom space.

HB 3 provided an early education allotment of $616 for each kindergarten to third-grade student who is economically disadvantaged or an English language learner, which can be used to help implement the full-day pre-K mandate.

State funding to CISD increased from $8.93 million to $41.45 million as part of the bill. However, HB 3 also requires districts provide increased teacher compensation and other new programs as well as full-day pre-K.

Superintendent Curtis Null said CISD could need 50 more teachers and classrooms to provide districtwide full-day pre-K.

“It’s likely to be 50 more teachers [and] 50 more classrooms needed to go full-day,” Null said. “Our goal is to get there as quickly as possible. When that is, it’s hard to say.”


MOST RECENT

Dozens of clinics throughout the county offer COVID-19 testing services. (William C. Wadsack/Community Impact Newspaper)
COVID-19 testing locations remain open in Montgomery County and more local news

Read the latest Houston-area business and community news.

Heading into Thanksgiving, Texas Medical Center continues to report uptick in hospitalizations

The total number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized at Texas Medical Center facilities has increased by more than 50% over two weeks.

The gym will be located at 910 Pine Market Ave., Ste. 100, Montgomery. (Courtesy Anytime Fitness)
Anytime Fitness to open in Woodforest in Montgomery this winter

The gym will be located at 910 Pine Market Ave., Ste. 100, Montgomery.

Trendmaker Homes has cleared abut 95 acres of trees just south of Pine Valley Drive. (Courtesy Steve Stewart)
New Trendmaker Homes community coming south of Pine Valley Drive, Conroe in fall 2021

Trendmaker Homes has cleared abut 95 acres of trees just south of Pine Valley Drive.

Dozens of clinics throughout the county offer COVID-19 testing services. (William C. Wadsack/Community Impact Newspaper)
Where to get tested for COVID-19 in Montgomery County

Molecular testing used to identify active COVID-19 cases and antibody testing to identify previous infections are both available in the county.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced a COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan for the state Nov. 23 for a vaccine he said could be available as soon as December. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announces COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan

The vaccine could start being distributed "as early as next month," according to a Nov. 23 news release.

Community Impact Newspaper uses data from the Montgomery County Public Health District for weekly case counts. (Community Impact Newspaper)
See Montgomery County's COVID-19 trends Nov. 17-23

Active cases increased from 1,828 to 2,513; recoveries grew from 10,012 to 10,655; and the death toll rose from 165 to 169.

Vince Santini was appointed by Gov. Greg Abbott on July 23. The court was created to address Montgomery County's growing backlog of civil cases. (Eva Vigh/Community Impact Newspaper)
Q&A: Montgomery County 457th District Court judge discusses new role, case backlog

When Vince Santini and his staff moved into the new building, they had to work off cardboard boxes and folding tables until furniture was purchased.

sand mining San Jacinto River APO Kingwood
Process begins to form best practices for sand mining companies in San Jacinto River Basin

“What we're advocating for is that standards be developed that provide a broader regional benefit while maintaining consistency and predictability," said Jill Boullin, executive director of the Bayou Land Conservancy.

Laura Colangelo
Q&A: Laura Colangelo discusses challenges facing private schools during pandemic

Colangelo said private schools have adapted to remote learning and other obstacles in 2020 despite less revenue and a 9% decline in enrollment statewide.

Shake Shack opened its new standalone location at The Woodlands Mall in November. (Courtesy Christine Han)
Shake Shack opens in The Woodlands Mall and more Houston-area updates

Read the latest business and community news from the Greater Houston area.

Each month, Community Impact Newspaper features a neighborhood in the Conroe and Montgomery area. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
See year-over-year real estate data in Conroe, Montgomery, plus this month's featured neighborhood, Arbor Place

The median price of homes sold in October 2019 compared to October 2020 increased in all but one ZIP code.