The increase brings CSC’s Pre-K Counts enrollment to 373 and allows for expansion into previously un-served school districts. Of the 100 additional children, 60 will be served in Allentown, 20 in the Pen Argyl School District at Plainfield Elementary School, and 20 at Moore Elementary School in Northampton Area School District.
The new classrooms are scheduled to open Nov. 1 and will be in session through June. The five new classrooms will be comprised solely of Pre-K Counts students, unlike some of CSC’s classrooms, which are a combination of Head Start and Pre-K Counts children.
Head Start and Pre-K Counts, while both high-quality early education programs, have different federal income guidelines. Most Head Start students fall at or below 100 percent of the poverty line, while Pre-K Counts allows families to be at 300 percent of poverty. But Deidra Vachier, vice president of Early Childhood Development, said CSC will still use the funds for the neediest children, allowing many who would have languished on a Head Start waiting list to be enrolled in school.
Community outreach is now underway to fill the new classrooms, with 4-year-olds given priority to ensure they receive at least one year of high-quality education before starting kindergarten. CSC will have to re-apply for all 373 Pre-K Counts slots next year.