The Lauderdale County School District is planning to give parents a head start when it comes to preparing their children for kindergarten.
Northeast and Southeast Elementary schools will receive help from the Barksdale Reading Institute to create parent academies for pre-kindergarten students who will be kindergarteners for the 2020-2021 school year.
The Barksdale Reading Institute works to improve Mississippi students’ pre-literacy and reading skills by providing professional development to teachers and administrators, according to its website.
Lisa Shelly, the principal at Northeast, said the project will provide training for teachers and resources to parents. Parents who attend the academy will be offered material on reading and phonics, which they can take home.
“Things they can do at home so they can learn those readiness skills for kindergarten,” Shelly said.
Karen Williams, the K-8 assistant director of curriculum for the district, said the project is expected to start this fall. An administrator and two teachers from each school will receive training from the institute before they share the information with parents during the academies, she said.
Beginning in October, the schools will have a parent academy once a month until January of 2020, she said. Each academy will feature a different subject.
Because the district does not offer a pre-kindergarten program, the academies will be a good way for parents to help their children before they start kindergarten, she said.
While the program will focus on rising kindergarteners, Shelly said teachers will use the information to help current kindergarteners who are struggling academically. She noted that teachers will use feedback from parents to see how the program is working.
Currently, the academies will only be available at Northeast and Southeast elementary schools, but Williams hopes they will be offered at West Lauderdale and Clarkdale.