For the upcoming 2022-23 school year, Fort Bend ISD will expand its prekindergarten program to six additional campuses, the district announced May 11.

According to the announcement, the district will extend that programming to 35 campuses—up from 29—along with a new tuition-based option for district employees and non-district employees alike.

“Prekindergarten is expanding to bring early literacy and numeracy learning opportunities for eligible (for free tuition) and noneligible young learners in our growing community,” said Carmela Levy-David, the FBISD assistant superintendent for elementary schools and early childhood programs, in an email to Community Impact Newspaper. “Research suggests that students in early childhood education programs typically develop reading, math and language skills faster and go on to academically outperform students for years to come who did not attend early childhood programs.”

Children eligible to attend the program must either qualify according to the federal income eligibility guidelines, come from a family in which English is not the primary language, and/or be a dependent of a member of the U.S. military or a first responder, according to the announcement.

The tuition-based program, meanwhile, will be offered at select campuses throughout the district with a limited number of seats.

The cost to expand the program is approximately $1.1 million, designated a district priority for academic growth.

Starting in fall 2022, 34 district elementary schools will offer the pre-K program and will include two certified educators in each classroom, according to the announcement.

Meanwhile, the 35th campus will serve as the district’s first public-private partnership with the early childhood education program Fueling Brains, at the Edison Lofts, a 126-unit affordable housing complex located at 7215 W. Fuqua St., Missouri City.