MNPS Considers Expansion Of Pre-K Program
by Emily Luxen
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Thousands of metro Nashville public school students are enrolled in Pre-K programs each year, but a new proposal aims to include even more.
Director of Metro Schools Dr. Jesse Register presented the plan to Metro Nashville Public School board members at their meeting Tuesday night. He said the expansion would ultimately make the program available to all eligible 4-year-olds in the district.
"Our goal is to increase the number of students served, and increase quality of programs we have to offer across the district," said Dr. Register.
Currently, Metro's Pre-K program serves 2,516 students, but more than 1,000 are on a waiting list. Dr. Register argued that needs to change.
"The rationale we've developed is there is a much greater demand than supply of high quality education programs in our district," said Dr. Register.
The first phase of the plan includes transforming Ross Elementary School in East Nashville and Bordeaux Elementary in North Nashville into Pre-K centers. This would open up spots for more than 500 students. Existing students at the two elementary schools would be reassigned to other nearby schools.
"I don't think it would be a tough transition," said Brenda Steele, Executive Officer of Elementary Schools. "We've been in the process of thinking what this would look like. We've had conversations with teachers and principals as well."
Initial response to the proposal was positive. Several school board members did ask questions about the details and logistics of the plan.
"Everyone I talked to have been very positive," said Steele. "They know this is a very important initiative, and we need to meet the needs of our children."
Dr. Register argued the change would help students and the entire district.
"We would like to be a national model for early childhood education," said Dr. Register.
Dr. Register did not discuss the potential cost of the program.
He said would like to see this plan take effect next school year. However, first, it must have the approval of the board of education and Metro council.