Tuscarora Elementary School is offering a new, full-day prekindergarten program for the 2019-2020 school year.
Cathy Nusbaum, coordinator for early childhood education and the Judy Center at Frederick County Public Schools, said the program is being offered because the system identified a need for it in the Tuscarora community.
“In the last several years Tuscarora has been paired with [the pre-K program at] Carroll Manor Elementary, and we have found that a large number of students at Carroll Manor were from Tuscarora,” Nusbaum said.
A pre-K program at Tuscarora Elementary had not been implemented in the past due to space constraints, but according to Nusbaum, space that opened up at the school this year made the program feasible.
Pre-K pupils will have the same schedule as kindergartners through fifth-graders. Their day will incorporate language arts, math, and science curriculums as well as “specials” such as music and computer lab. There will also be lunch and “rest time,” allowing students to nap if needed.
Parents have to go to Tuscarora Elementary and apply for the program in person. Certain qualifications must be met in order for a child to be accepted. Nusbaum said the program is primarily income-based and geared to families with lower socioeconomic status and students who have individualized learning programs and are English-language learners.
Applications are being taken, and parents are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.
“The earlier the better, because we can only take 20 children, and once it’s full, it’s full,” Nusbaum said.
Depending on the number of applications received and who applies, Nusbaum said the program could be opened to those with higher income levels, and students who don’t have individualized needs. Once a student is accepted, the pre-K teacher will meet with families either through school or home visits in order to meet the child and answer any questions parents may have about the program.
Nusbaum also said that if spots remain once the school year starts, FCPS will continue to accept applications on a rolling basis.
Tuscarora Elementary is one of nine schools that will offer full-day pre-K programs this fall. That is an increase from three schools last year. The expansion was possible due to grant funding the school district received, Nusbaum said.
FCPS has 21 schools in total offering some form of pre-K programming for the coming school year.