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Frisco ISD Prepares for Full Day Pre-K Expansion in 2020-21

Dec 19, 2019

Frisco ISD will educate eligible 4-year-olds in full-day Pre Kindergarten classrooms starting in the 2020-21 school year. Preparations for the free program include immediately hiring teachers, planning for new classrooms across the District and planning for registration and enrollment.

The District has long been interested in reaching the community’s youngest learners based on educational research and the success of the current half-day program at the Frisco ISD Early Childhood School (ECS). Students who start at ECS are consistently Kindergarten-ready and show continued success throughout elementary school.

“FISD has been researching the feasibility of expanding Pre-K offerings to eligible four-year-olds for some time,” said Melissa Ellis, assistant director of early childhood. "Expansion of early childhood and Pre-Kindergarten programming was a priority of the community during the 2018 Tax Ratification Election. The requirements for Pre-K expansion in House Bill 3 affirmed our direction and provided some additional funding for this initiative." 

The state has provided school districts the opportunity to delay full implementation of the new requirement, under certain conditions, for up to six years, but Frisco ISD wants to move quickly to serve more families in the community to support Kindergarten readiness.

“This expansion will help us reach more children,” Ellis said. “We recognize that half days can be difficult for families. With full-day programming, we will be able to serve many more students who qualify.”

Research shows that full-day Pre-K students are better prepared for Kindergarten and they demonstrate higher scores in language, math, social-emotional development, health, literacy and cognitive development. In addition, these students are less likely to be retained in future grade levels. 

“We want to get the kids who need us the most in our classrooms as soon as possible,” said Superintendent Dr. Mike Waldrip. “Studies show the benefits are long-lasting for students and there are positive impacts for entire families and the community as well."

A survey distributed by Frisco ISD in the fall showed strong community interest for full-day Pre-K. Of the more than 1,000 respondents, 77% said they are likely to enroll their child if they meet qualification requirements.

The District anticipates a significant increase in enrollment and with it, an increased need for staff. 

Frisco ISD is now hiring.

The Human Resources department has been actively recruiting teachers for Pre-K positions at job fairs and has officially posted the positions for hire here. Interested applicants should already have three required certifications: Generalist including Early Childhood, Special Education and ESL or Bilingual. 

New Pre-K teachers from outside FISD will have a unique opportunity to start teaching immediately under the guidance of current Pre-K teachers at the Early Childhood School. The new teachers will co-teach this spring in preparation for having their own classrooms in August.

“This job-embedded professional learning is a rare opportunity within the teaching field that will pay dividends for both the teacher and future students,” Ellis said. “These teachers will have a deep understanding of the high expectations we hold for ourselves as educators in Frisco ISD before they even start setting up their own classrooms.”

Where will Pre-K be offered?

Full-day Pre-K enrollment is expected to exceed capacity at the Early Childhood School. As a result, Frisco ISD plans to utilize space at the following additional schools located across the District: 

  • Boals

  • Carroll (Bilingual Pre-K only)

  • Hosp

  • McSpedden

  • Pink

  • Purefoy

  • Shawnee Trail

  • Sonntag

Satellite Pre-K campuses were selected based on the strength of their academic programming, as well as location and availability of usable classroom space. Additional campuses may need to be utilized depending on enrollment. This spring, Frisco ISD will draw attendance zones to determine which elementary schools will feed each Pre-K location.

Who is eligible for full-day Pre-K at no cost?

Students must meet one of the qualifying criteria in order to register for Pre-Kindergarten at no charge.

  • Unable to speak or comprehend the English language. 

  • Low family income qualifies the student for the free/reduced lunch program. 

  • Meet the definition of homeless.

  • Be a member of an active military family or be a member of an inactive military family whose guardian was injured or killed during active military service. 

  • Has ever been in the foster care system in the state of Texas. 

  • Has a guardian who is eligible to receive the Star of Texas Award as a peace officer, firefighter or emergency medical first responder.

Frisco ISD does not plan to offer a tuition-supported full-day Pre-K program in the 2020-21 school year due to space constraints and uncertainty about the number of children who may participate in the free program. A tuition-supported program will continue to be a consideration for future years. 

How and when should guardians register their child?

Parents and guardians are encouraged to register as soon as possible for Pre-K in the 2020-21 school year. Pre-K registration opportunities will be available in spring and summer 2020, though the dates have yet to be finalized.

The District looks forward to full-day Pre-K and will continue to finalize and communicate details regarding the expansion. Community members should look to the Pre-K page for the latest information. Questions should be directed to Melissa Ellis.

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