If there's one challenge facing the administrators of the Pre-K 4 SA program, it is high demand. The City of San Antonio's prekindergarten program opened with full enrollment at all four centers for the 2014-15 academic year. Program directors have set an enrollment goal of 1,700 students by the 2016-17 school year.
Pre-K 4 SA's East Education Center is taking a giant step forward in response to that need, adding 50 spaces available to 4-year-olds next school year, raising capacity from 350 to 400 students. This will come as welcome news to the families now enrolling their little ones for the April 8 lottery selection. Applications will be accepted now through April 5. For more information or to apply, visit www.sanantonio.gov/PreK4SA or call (210) 206-PREK (7735)
Applicants must meet the TEA's eligibility requirements for tuition-free preschool and live within a participating school district. For those outside the school district, or who do not meet these requirements, enrollment is offered on a sliding scale tuition basis. After the initial lottery selection on April 8, applications will continue to be accepted into August or until all centers reach capacity.
The East and West Education Centers, newly opened for the 2014-15 school year, marked a major milestone for the program, with all four facilities now operational. The East Center, on Eisenhauer Road, saw huge demand, and quickly progressed with plans to increase capacity.
“With our four centers operating at full capacity, it’s evident that awareness of the benefits in high-quality prekindergarten has taken root and continues to grow in San Antonio. Pre-K 4 SA is growing alongside it,” said Pre-K 4 SA CEO Kathy Bruck. “Our East Education Center, in particular, is filling a great need in the communities it serves. Our goal in expanding the opportunity to enroll at the East Center is to increase even further the reach of early childhood education there.”
The importance of early childhood education, long acknowledged by educators, is gaining prominence on the state-level as well. Gov. Greg Abbott's declaration in his first State of the State address that early childhood education programs would be among his five "emergency" items fast-tracked for legislative consideration. Many have voiced concern about the funding and accountability structures he has in mind, but San Antonio remains well ahead of the curve. The voter's bold choice to fund education for the city's littlest citizens, and the impressively high quality being delivered by Bruck and her staff make Pre-K 4 SA a success story on every front.
*Featured/top image: Pre-K 4 SA classroom. Photo courtesy of the City of San Antonio.