Florence school system wants to take Pre-K program city-wide

FLORENCE, Ala. – Six years ago, the uncertainty of federal funding forced Florence City Schools to close down their Pre-K program. In 2017, they slowly started reintroducing four-year-olds back into the schoolhouse with state grants. The school system says they are now ready to take the program city-wide.

“We really have a vision to make Pre-K the new kindergarten in Florence City,” stated Superintendent Jimmy Shaw.

Since taking office, Shaw has started Pre-K on three elementary school campuses. Until now, the number of four-year-olds they could accept has been limited.

“I have a list every year, if I could do anything in education what would it be? Being able to have Pre-K units for every child in the city of Florence has been on my list since Day one,” he continued.

With more state grants available and the use of local tax dollars, Shaw is reopening W.C. Handy School as a city-wide early childhood development center. Shaw said mounds of data show exposing children to a learning environment at age four can have a positive impact in their later years.

“We want to eliminate the need for parents to want solid early childhood development instruction for their kids and not be able to get it,” he explained.

The Pre-K program will be free to the parents who want to get their children involved.

The Community Action Partnership of North Alabama has been operating a head start program at Handy School since 2014. The Florence School Board has asked them to vacate the campus by June 30. Leaders with the Community Action Partnership have said they will find a new campus to operate.

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