Special Report to Blowing Rock News from Watauga County Schools. By Marshall Ashcraft. July 30, 2014. BOONE, NC — Parkway School will be the site of a new pre-kindergarten classroom provided through a collaboration of the Lucy Brock Child Development Laboratory Program (LBCDLP) of Appalachian State University, the Children’s Council of Watauga County, and the Watauga County Schools.
The classroom, formally known as The Lucy Brock Collaborative Classroom at Parkway Elementary School, will operate with the same daily schedule, school calendar, and curriculum as the NC Pre-K classrooms at Cove Creek, Green Valley, Hardin Park and Valle Crucis schools. However, the teacher in the Parkway classroom will be employed by and paid through the Lucy Brock program.
“We’re very excited about our partnership with the school system and the Children’s Council to provide increased access to high quality pre-kindergarten in our community,” said Andrea Anderson, director of LBCDLP. “This additional classroom will provide both a valuable service for families and a great setting for training new professionals for careers in child development. It fits perfectly with our goal of applying and modeling best practices for child development in a real world setting.”
Tamara Stamey, director of elementary education for the Watauga County Schools, and Crystal Kelly, executive director of the Children’s Council, echoed Anderson’s enthusiasm for the collaboration. Stamey commented that “research clearly shows that attending a high quality pre-kindergarten makes a significant difference for children and we strongly support expansion of such programs. We are extremely pleased that this collaboration will increase the number of children in Watauga County that benefit from pre-kindergarten services.”
Kelly noted that supporting an increased supply of high quality child development services is a key goal of the Children’s Council and said “we look forward to continuing to build a strong early childhood system through innovative and collaborative partnerships.”
The Parkway pre-kindergarten classroom will serve at least eight children and could serve up to 18 if increased funding is secured as planned. The availability of additional funds depends upon the allocation of pre-k expansion funds that are expected to be part of the 2014-15 state budget when adopted.
Enrollment in the program is open to students meeting NC Pre-K eligibility standards set by the state. The standards require that children be four years old on or before August 31 and that they meet state criteria for low household income, developmental impairments, or other factors.
Although all currently available spaces at Parkway and the other schools with pre-kindergarten classrooms have been filled, applications are still welcome. Parents should contact the Children’s Council at 828 262-5424 to request an application or inquire about the NC Pre-K program at Parkway or any site in Watauga County. As part of the application process, parents will need to provide verification of household income, a copy of the child’s certified birth certificate, and two documents proving residence in Watauga County.
The Lucy Brock Child Development Lab Program is part of the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences at Appalachian State University.
The Children’s Council of Watauga County is a private non-profit organization focusing on early education and family support services and is the Smart Start partnership for Watauga County. The Children’s Council has succeeded the Watauga County Schools as administrator of the NC Pre-K program in Watauga County.
The Watauga County Schools system is composed of eight K-8 schools and one high school serving a combined total of approximately 4,400 students.