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The pre-kindergarten program at Mainland Preparatory Classical Academy in La Marque will receive some much needed support in the form of a $47,722 grant from the State of Texas designed to help sustain pre-k programs during the next two years.

The funds will help the school keep its full-day pre-k program open until the state changes its funding formula that currently only provides for half-day programs. The school has had a pre-k program since it opened in 1998. Mainland’s current pre-k enrollment consists of more than 90% economically disadvantaged students.

“Full day programs better prepare students ready to enter kindergarten both socially and academically. Economically disadvantaged students are often a year behind entering kindergarten when they do not receive the support of a full day pre-k,” said Yvette East, regional director of academics for ResponsiveEd, the charter operator based in Lewisville, Texas, that runs the school.

The school will utilize the Texas School Readiness Model to teach the Texas DLM Early Childhood Express curriculum for the pre-k program. It focuses on social and emotional development, language and communication, emergent literacy reading, emergent literacy writing, mathematics, science and social studies.

“We want to develop well-rounded children. Developing a full range of skills as early as possible is the key to their future success. When students are reading early and building their vocabulary, they are better equipped for academic challenges at higher grades. Our pre-k students love books and love school. We need to continue to encourage that in them at the earliest years of their school career,” she said.

Mainland typically enrolls 50-60 pre-k students, but the State of Texas has only funded half of the cost of educating them. To receive what funding is available, the program must serve low-income or military families where the need is the greatest as well as include a parent engagement plan.

“We would like to see the state get fully behind funding pre-k programs. Every year our students read to the State Board of Education. The members are always so impressed with our students’ performance on that day. It is clear to everyone what an enormous impact this program can have on a child,” Mrs. East said.

Mainland is a pk-8th grade charter school located between Galveston and Houston. The growing school now has an enrollment of more than 500 students. It became part of the ResponsiveEd charter school organization in 2015 following its long struggle to recover from Hurricane Ike in 2008.

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