The Jackson County School System received three new pre-kindergarten grants for new preschool locations at Bryant, Rosalie and Stevenson.

These new locations give the school system a total of 12 Pre-K locations in the county. Pre-K Director Mark Guffey said Macedonia and Flat Rock are the only two schools in the county without a Pre-K program. Guffey said the new grants will allow the school system to serve approximately 218 children in the county.

“As far as the state of Alabama, the pre-K program is something we can hang our hat on,” said Guffey. “We’re number one in the nation as far as pre-K programs go, and Jackson County has one of the top programs in the state.”

Guffey said children leave the pre-K program ready to learn. He said the goal of the program is prepare the students to be ready for school. It focuses on building fine motor skills, learning letters and numbers and how to write their name.

“The primary goal is to teach them some social and emotional skills to be able to follow directions and to function in a school setting,” said Guffey. “These grants are going to give us the opportunity to offer that to more students.”

Guffey said the pre-K location in NSM was serving students from Flat Rock to Bryant, and there were several students on a waiting list. He said this was a win-win for each community. He said the location at Rosalie would help in the same way. He said there are 20 to 30 students on a waiting list each year.

The school system also received a grant for a second pre-K location in Stevenson. Every year that Guffey has been in this program, Stevenson has always had a huge waiting list. It gives the school system an opportunity to serve more of the students that are eligible and want to be in the program.

Guffey said there were approximately 170 grants written this year, and about 50 were awarded. Guffey wrote for three grants, and all three were selected. He said they were fortunate to receive those grants. Guffey said he was appreciative of the principals from these schools and the team that help him put these grants together.  

He said the pre-K program was near and dear to his heart.

“I honestly feel like this has the potential to impact more students in a more positive way than anything we do,” said Guffey.

Guffey said there will be a random selection process for Bryant and Rosalie. It will be an online registration process. He said they will be able to use Stevenson’s current waiting list to fill its new site. He said to be on the lookout for new information.

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