ALABAMA (WHNT) – 96 new classrooms across 35 counties will be joining Alabama’s First Class Pre-K program in the fall.

Gov. Kay Ivey made the announcement Tuesday, saying the new classrooms will bring the state total to 26,658 children enrolled across more than 1,481 Alabama classrooms, moving the state closer to the goal of serving 70 percent of eligible children statewide.

“We are excited to serve an additional 1,728 students in our First Class Pre-K program in the coming year. We are thrilled that Governor Ivey and our state leaders continue to invest in early childhood education supporting Alabama First Class Pre-K in maintaining all 10 NIEER quality benchmarks for 16 years running.”

Dr. Barabara Cooper, Alabama Secretary of Early Childhood Education

Across North Alabama, new classrooms include:

Blount County

  • Blountsville Elementary School
  • Hayden Primary School
  • Southeastern High School

Colbert County

  • Howell Graves Preschool – 3 new classrooms

Cullman County

  • Good Hope Primary School
  • Parkside Elementary School

DeKalb County

  • Geraldine High School

Franklin County

  • New Freedom Christian Fellowship Daycare
  • Kay and Nick’s Playhouse

Jackson County

  • Flat Rock Elementary School
  • Macedonia Elementary School

Lauderdale County

  • Kids Club Early Care & Education Academy

Lawrence County

  • Hatton Elementary School in Town Creek (not to be confused with Hatton Elementary in Leighton)
  • Hazelwood Elementary School

Limestone County

  • Blue Springs Elementary School
  • Sugar Creek Elementary School

Madison County

  • A Better Choice Child Development Center
  • A Perfect Start Learning Center
  • Martin Luther King Elementary School
  • Monrovia Elementary School
  • Morris Elementary School
  • Young World Christian Academy

Marshall County

  • Asbury Elementary School
  • Boaz Elementary School
  • Douglas Elementary School
  • Kingdom Kids at Connect Church

Morgan County

  • Crestline Elementary School
  • West Morgan Elementary School

In Tuesday’s announcement, Ivey said the state-funded program also has been ranked highest in the nation for the 16th consecutive year by the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER). The new classrooms come as part of a $22.5 million increase in Gov. Ivey’s 2023 budget from the Department of Early Childhood Education’s Office of School Readiness; Ivey said additional classrooms will be funded based on further evaluation of high-need areas prior to the start of the 2022-23 school year.

The Department of Early Childhood Education will also be giving Pre-K teachers the same raise public K-12 teachers will receive in the upcoming school year. For a full list of all 96 new classrooms and which schools or preschool centers will be participating for the first time, click here.