For the 2nd year, AARO is partnering with school districts, health clinics, community providers and E3 Alliance to spread the word about free public school Pre-K for eligible students.* On June 12th, AARO hosted a luncheon to discuss this key regional initiative featuring remarks by Austin Mayor Steve Adler and a special performance by Texas State Musician Sara Hickman.
Research by E3 Alliance shows that only half of all Central Texas students are Kindergarten-ready when they enter school. Every year in Central Texas, over 2,000 low-income 4-year-olds are eligible for FREE public school Pre-K, but they don’t enroll in any public or private pre-school program.
Attendance in a high quality Pre-K program is important for school readiness and is highly correlated with reading at grade level, high school graduation, and even income level. If we can enroll these 2,000+ low-income, eligible 4-year-olds in high quality Pre-K, they’ll be more likely to be ready for Kindergarten. Plus, our region could see a $30 M return-on-investment over the students’ lifetimes, per annual cohort of students. It’s truly a win-win.
If you know or work with families of likely-eligible 4-year-olds, encourage them to ask their school district if they qualify.
* To qualify for free Pre-K, the child must be at least 4 years old by September 1st of the school year and meet ANY of the following criteria:
– Child is from a low income household
– Child is unable to speak English well
– Child is homeless or has been in foster care
– Child’s parent is a member of the U.S. armed forces
Children with no documentation of U.S. citizenship are accepted!
Group Photo Courtesy of Ms. Sara Hickman
Pictured (left to right): Mr. Miguel Romano, Senior Business Development Officer; Mr. Mark Mayfield, President/CEO – Texas Housing Foundation; Mayor Steve Adler – City of Austin; Ms. Tamara Atkinson, Deputy Executive Director – Workforce Solutions – Capital Area Workforce Board.
Front: Ms. Marina Bhargava, Executive Director – Greater Austin Asian Chamber of Commerce and Ms. Sara Hickman – Texas State Musician.