Lee County Schools will begin offering pre-K classes

LEE COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI) – Students in Lee County Schools will be able to start one year earlier, as the district will offer pre-K classes in August.

Whitney Thomas has taught kindergarten at Verona Elementary for six years. She said it’s evident on the first day of class when students have had some sort of instruction, whether from daycare or preschool.

“The earlier we can intervene the better,” said Thomas.

Beginning with the 2023-2024 school year, pre-K will be offered in Lee County Schools. The district was one of three named an Early Learning Collaborative by the Mississippi State Board of Education. Local Head Start programs are also involved.

A grant from the Mississippi Department of Education will fund the program, with space for 140 students in the first year.

“We want to expose them to our classroom management, how to follow rules, how to be a good little citizen, and I try and get my kids to be as independent as possible, I want them to be able to do as much as they can for themselves,” said Jodie Boyd, Director of Early Childhood.

As Director of Early Childhood for Lee County Schools, Jodie Boyd said pre-K will have many benefits for students, teachers, and parents.

“Early intervention and taking preventive measures is always easier than intervention and trying to make up for lost time so the Pre K program is a preventive measure to make sure our children get developmental experience and academic knowledge they need to make sure they’re successful in school and in life,” said Boyd.

The MDE grant runs for three years at $350,000 each year. Lee County schools will also hire more teachers to be in place when the pre-K program starts in August.

Registration for Lee County’s pre-K program takes place Saturday and Tuesday at the district offices. A student must be four years old by September 1 to be considered.

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