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.”
SHARE THIS STORY
By Andy Li

Originally from Boone, North Carolina, Andy Li is a graduate of East Carolina University with degrees in Communication with a concentration in journalism and Political Science. While in school, he worked as a performing arts reporter, news, arts and copy editor and a columnist at the campus newspaper, The East Carolinian. He also had the privilege to work with NPR’s Next Generation Radio, a project for student journalists exploring radio news. Moving to Houston in May 2019, he now covers the Conroe Independent School District, Montgomery City Council and transportation.


MOST RECENT

(Kaitlin Schmidt/Community Impact Newspaper)
ROUNDUP: 5 recent coronavirus stories from the North Houston area readers should know

Catch up on some of the latest coronavirus updates for the North Houston area below.

Houston Airport System officials expect March passenger data to be significantly lower than in other months. Foot traffic at IAH was light March 24. (Emily Heineman/Community Impact Newspaper)
TSA limits checkpoints at George Bush Intercontinental Airport; Houston Airport System expects significant decline in March passengers

With low passenger travel amid the coronavirus pandemic, Transportation Security Administration checkpoints at George Bush Intercontinental Airport have been consolidated to make better use of resources and personnel, Houston Airport System officials said.

Volunteers unload food donations for the Montgomery County Food Bank. (Courtesy Drive West Communications)
ExxonMobil makes $250,000 donation to local food banks

The energy company said the Houston Food Bank will receive $200,000, including $50,000 in gasoline gift cards. The Montgomery County Food Bank will also receive $50,000.

All nonessential businesses throughout the county, including in downtown Conroe, have been closed. (Andy Li/Community Impact Newspaper)
PHOTOS: Scenes of Montgomery County as residents deal with stay-at-home order

The ongoing coronavirus outbreak and Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough's stay-at-home order, effective March 27 through April 30, have replaced residents on the streets of one of the fastest growing areas in the country with silence.

Lone Star College is providing tips for parents and students adapting to online learning. (Andrew Christman/Community Impact Newspaper)
Lone Star College offers online learning tips for parents

Lone Star College is providing tips for parents and students adapting to online learning.

The Texas Torque team is planning to produce hundreds of face shields for medical personnel. (Courtesy Scott Rippetoe)
Conroe ISD robotics team joins national effort to produce medical protective gear

The Woodlands-based Texas Torque is working to provide hundreds of face shields to health care providers.

(Kaitlin Schmidt/Community Impact Newspaper)
‘I’m trying to stay alive’: Inside the life of an immunocompromised Conroe resident during coronavirus

Susan Brassard said her surgery has been temporarily cancelled because of coronavirus. But the longer she waits, the more worries she gets.

The employees of The Adventure Begins Comics, Games & More gather their characters together in "Animal Crossing: New Horizons." (Kate Looney/The Adventure Begins Comics, Games & More)
5 recent business stories from the Houston area readers should know

Read updates on how local businesses are reacting in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Many renters in the Greater Houston area may be faced with struggles paying rent amid the coronavirus outbreak. There are local resources located throughout the region that can help. (Courtesy Pexels)
Struggling to pay April rent? Here are some resources in the Greater Houston area

The deadline for April rent is looming as renters—both in public and private housing—in the Greater Houston area may be struggling financially in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

President Donald Trump signed a $2 trillion package March 27 to provide relief during the coronavirus pandemic. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Sen. John Cornyn discusses provisions laid out in CARES Act

The $2 trillion package provides funding to help fight the virus and to provide financial assistance for Americans during the pandemic.

Initial claims for unemployment insurance rates are increasing across the nation in the midst of COVID-19. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Texas sees 77% increase in unemployment insurance claims during week ending March 28

Texas ranked fifth among states in the U.S. with 275,597 initial claims filed the week ending March 28.

The Lone Star College Small Business Development Center is located in the Lone Star College System Building. (Photo by Andrew Christman/Community Impact Newspaper)
Lone Star College Small Business Development Center offers free webinar for guidance on business loans

Webinars are available to help small businesses out from the Lone Star College Small Business Development Center.