School district holding Pre-K Lottery in March

Approximately 704 slots will be available, next school year, for parents interested in signing up their youngsters for free, pre-kindergarten –– or pre-k –– classes in the Clayton County School System, according to Cynthia Roberts, the district’s coordinating supervisor for the program.

Roberts said registration for the 2012-2013 Pre-k Lottery will be March 5-9. According to the school district’s web site, the prekindergarten program is funded largely by the Georgia Lottery and operated by the state’s Bright From the Start, Department of Early Care and Learning. Classes are provided in both public and private childcare centers.

Roberts said the main focus of the program is to provide 4-year-olds with the learning experiences they need, in order to prepare for kindergarten and succeed academically throughout their educational experiences.

“We will work with parents to get immunization files prepared before their child starts kindergarten,” she said.

Roberts said students who attend pre-k before entering kindergarten are more acclimated to the school setting and have an academic advantage over students who do not attend prekindergarten.

“I spoke with teachers, and they have all told me they can tell which students have attend pre-k, and those who have not,” she said.

According to Roberts, Clayton County Public Schools, “started [with pre-k, in 1995, on a small scale. Since then, we have grown, and now offer more pre-k classes.”

For the 2012-2013 school year, Roberts said, the district has expanded, and will offer 32 pre-k classes, –– each serving 20 students.

The schools include the following: Anderson Elementary, Lee Street Elementary, Callaway Elementary, McGarrah Elementary, Church Street Elementary, Morrow Elementary, East Clayton Elementary, Mount Zion Primary, Edmonds Elementary, Northcutt Elementary, Fountain Elementary, Pointe South Elementary, Hawthorne Elementary, Riverdale Elementary, Huie Elementary, River’s Edge Elementary, Jackson Elementary, Suder Elementary, Kemp Primary, Tara Elementary, King Elementary, Unidos Charter School, Lake City Elementary, West Clayton Elementary, and Lake Ridge Elementary.

Roberts said all Clayton County residents are eligible for the pre-k lottery and can register their child for any school of their choice –– even schools outside their assigned districts.

However, she added that those who decide to register their child outside their district lines, will be responsible for providing their own transportation.

Roberts said acceptance into pre-k classes in the public schools will be based on a computer-generated lottery system for each site, with priority given to children residing within the individual school attendance areas. She said once the names are selected, a list will be posted at the individual schools the week of April 23.

“Parents will have to go to the school to see the results,” she said.

The Unidos Charter School, however, will have a separate lottery drawing. “They will have a hand-drawn lottery,” she said.

Parents, who already have students attending Unidos, will have first priority, and their children will automatically be accepted, she added.

Application dates and times are as follows:

Registration for the Pre-K Lottery begins Monday, March 5, and lasts through March 9, from 8:30 a.m., to 11:30 a.m., and 1 p.m., to 4 p.m. Extended registration hours will be on Thursday, March 8, from 1 p.m., to 6 p.m.

Items needed to apply include: Student’s “original state-issued” birth certificate; parent’s “government-issued” photo ID; and two “current” proofs of residency (mortgage statement, rental agreement, utility bills: Gas, water, and electric).

Roberts said parents interested in registering their child for the 2012-2013 Pre-k Lottery program, should log on to the school system’s web site at www.clayton.k12.ga.us.

She added that parents, who would like to register for the lottery with the assistance of Spanish and Vietnamese interpreters, should visit the Clayton County Public Schools International Center, at 5968 Maddox Road, Morrow, during the following dates and times: March 5, 6, 7 and 9, from 8 a.m., to 3 p.m., and March 8, from 1 p.m., to 6 p.m.

“Children not selected in the lottery will be placed on a computer-generated waiting list for each pre-k site,” said Roberts.

For more information, call the prekindergarten hotline, at (770) 472-7200.