San Benito schools offering all-day pre-kindergarten

SAN BENITO — Soon kids will be able to attend pre-kindergarten all day.

Starting this August, the San Benito school district’s youngest students will be able to learn play and prepare for their future all day — just like the big kids.

The strengthening of the program is due in large part to a grant awarded through the Texas Education Agency.

In 2015, House Bill 4 was passed by the Texas Legislature and signed by Gov. Greg Abbott. HB 4 establishes additional state support for high-quality pre-kindergarten programs, including authorization for a grant program.

According to school officials, registration is already underway.

Pre-kindergarten is a child’s first experience in a structured setting with teachers and groups of children. This experience helps provide an opportunity in helping students learn the importance of gaining knowledge, following instructions and sharing.

“San Benito CISD understands the need to provide this foundation during a child’s formative years and with that in mind, our district is extremely excited about offering a full-day pre-kindergarten experience at all of our elementary campuses,” said Julie Treviño, the district’s executive director for Academic Services.

“In some cases, we have two classrooms per campus,” she said. “In almost all of them we have the collaboration of Head Start.”

Seven campuses will participate in a model where Neighbors in Need of Services, NINOS, Head Start/Early Start Program, will serve eligible students in the morning, while during that same time, the school district serves another group of Head Start eligible students. The groups will then interchange in the afternoon

“The district will expand their collaboration with the NINOS, Inc. and in doing so, we will be able to provide a full day of instruction for all incoming pre-kindergartener students,” Treviño said.

As a main aspect of the district’s future strategic plan, a full day pre-kindergarten program surfaced from the P-20 committee and was then implemented.

The committee thought the implementation of the program would support effective teaching practices that have been shown to lead to important growth in children’s intellectual and social development.

Superintendent Dr. Adrian Vega agreed, stating that being pro-active is critical to a child’s future success.

“When you look at what research shows, the fact that we’re able to get kids earlier and put them in a structured environment with a quality educational experience, the results that that yields later on continues in their educational development,” Vega said.

Participating Schools

The following elementary schools will offer renewed collaboration of efforts with NINOS:

Fred Booth Elementary

Landrum Elementary

Rangerville Elementary

The elementary campuses listed below will begin participating in this initiative with NINOS:

Frank Roberts Elementary

La Encantada Elementary

La Paloma Elementary

Sullivan Elementary

The elementary schools listed below will also be providing full day pre-kindergarten instruction:

Angela G. Leal Elementary

C.M. Cash Elementary

Ed Downs Elementary

Raul Garza, Jr. Elementary

Judge Oscar De La Fuente Elementary

Additional information about the district’s full day pre-kindergarten program and information regarding registration can be obtained by contacting the district’s Elementary Curriculum Director Connie Cruz at 956-361-6302 or by contacting the nearest elementary campus.