Coweta celebrates 20 years of pre-K classes

The Coweta County School System was recently recognized as being among a small number of school systems in Georgia that have offered pre-Kindergarten classes for 20 years in Georgia. Pictured with Pam Sandlin at the head of the class at Jefferson Parkway Elementary are, from left, Rayburn Jones, Mydreyanna Mitchell, Caleb Conselyea, Nadia Hernandez, Derek Clark and Emily Solis. Photo/Special.

The Coweta County School System was one of the first in Georgia to offer classes for pre-Kindergarten kids. That was 20 years ago and the school system during that time has served thousands of 4-year-old students.

“With its recent pre-K registration completed on March 22, the school system is gearing up to begin its 21st year, serving 550 students in Coweta’s 19 elementary schools,” said school system spokesman Dean Jackson. “The Coweta County School System was among a small number of school systems that participated in the Georgia’s pre-K program pilot in 1992 and has served thousands of pre-school age students in the program ever since.”

Pre-Kindergarten classes are open to students who are four years old on or before September 1 (Kindergarten students must be five years old by the same date to register for that program). Pre-K teachers are certified with a least a four-year degree in Early Childhood Education. Teachers provide instructional activities and learning experiences in the areas of language/literacy, math, art, science, social studies and creative expressions. Each Pre-K class features a lead certified teacher and an assistant.

Commenting on the program, pre-K county director Lisa Copeland said the school system continues to maintain a strong commitment to its brightest and best students in early learning.

Copeland also represented the Coweta school system at a March 12 ceremony presided over by Georgia Governor Nathan Deal at the Fernbank Museum of Natural History. The program noted that Georgia’s pre-K program has moved from serving a few hundred children two decades ago to become the most successful pre-Kindergarten effort in the nation, serving more than 83,000 children in every county in the state today.

“It was an unprecedented feeling, being able to attend that ceremony,” said Copeland. “It spoke to the legacy that our county has helped create, and it was wonderful to have our commitment to our early childhood population recognized.”

Pam Sandlin teaches pre-Kindergarten at Jefferson Parkway Elementary School, which serves pre-K students from the Ruth Hill, Elm Street, Atkinson and Jefferson Parkway districts.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed teaching Pre-K,” said Sandlin. “We have some fantastic pre-K teachers in our county, and a strong program.”

Sandlin says she enjoys teaching 4-year-olds because “they’re just so funny and honest. I really enjoy this age, and they are very lovable. There are times they look at you and call you mama and they don’t even think about it. You don’t get that with 5th graders too often.”

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