Parents of children that will be four years old on August 31st of this year are urged to bring their child to a free developmental screening available for the Saturdays of March 23rd and April 20th.
Every child in Watauga County who will be four years old on or before August 31st is eligible for a free screening regardless of whether the child will be staying at home, in childcare, or enrolled in the Watauga County Schools (WCS) pre-kindergarten program next fall. A screening is required for every child in the WCS pre-kindergarten program.
While the screenings are available to all four year olds living in Watauga County, only children meeting the state’s NC Pre-K criteria can be enrolled in the WCS pre-kindergarten program. The state requires that children served in NC Pre-K classes must meet “at risk” criteria such as low household income or other factors
An appointment is required for screenings and children must be screened at the site serving their school attendance area. Screenings for children living in the Bethel, Mabel, and Cove Creek attendance areas will be offered March 23rd at Cove Creek School. Appointments for children in the Hardin Park, Green Valley, and Valle Crucis attendance areas will be offered March 23rd and April 20th at Hardin Park School.
Screenings for children in the Blowing Rock and Parkway areas will be April 20th at Parkway School. The hours for appointments are 8:30 – 11:00 a.m. and 12:30 – 3:30 p.m. for both dates and all three sites.
To initiate a request for an appointment, parents should first fill out the screening form and submit it as directed on the form. After the forms have been received at the WCS central office, parents will be contacted to schedule an appointment.
The screening forms and application forms for the WCS pre-kindergarten program are available from schools and from the Parent Links page of the WCS website. To locate the forms online, go to www.watauga.k12.nc.us, choose the Parent Links heading, and then click on “forms, menus & other WCS information.”
As part of the pre-kindergarten application process, parents must provide verification of household income, a copy of the child’s certified birth certificate, and two documents proving residence in Watauga County. Parent that want to enroll a child in the WCS pre-kindergarten program should bring a pre-kindergarten application to their screening appointment. Questions about applying for the pre-kindergarten program or about the screening form should be referred to Renee Battle at 828 264-7190.
The number of spaces available for pre-kindergarten students will not be known until the NC General Assembly and the Watauga County Commissioners adopt their budgets for the 2013-14 fiscal year and decisions about which children can enroll in pre-kindergarten cannot be made until these budgets are in place. Because of these uncertainties, families are encouraged to make plans for alternative child care arrangements in the event their child cannot be enrolled. Parents will also want to note that the after school program is not available to pre-kindergarten children.
There are currently eight pre-kindergarten classrooms in the WCS system, two at Hardin Park School and one at each of the other elementary schools except Blowing Rock. The classrooms currently have space for 135 children, about one-third of the four year olds in Watauga County.