To ensure that even their youngest students are successful, Trinity Area School District will now offer a pre-kindergarten program.
The six-hour-a-day, five-day-a-week program, made possible by Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts funding, will begin this fall.
Brenda Fronzaglio, the early childhood services director with Community Action Southwest, said CAS partnered with Trinity to provide the service. Their goal is to ensure that 4- and 5-year-olds within the district are school-ready.
“When they walk into kindergarten, we want them ready to learn,” she said.
Fronzaglio said the program will start at North Elementary School and will serve 17 students from within the district. While it is similar to Head Start, which promotes school-readiness for young children of low-income families, Fronzaglio said Trinity’s program is meant to help “working families.” The program is provided free of cost.
“There are families working really hard and still can’t enroll their children in quality programs,” she said. “A family of four can make up to $71,000 a year and be eligible for Pre-K Counts. The same family can only make $24,000 a year to be eligible for Head Start.”
Fronzaglio said the district and CAS chose to start the program at North Elementary because that part of the school district has a greater of number of children from families within the income guidelines.
“There are potential children at risk for educational failure,” she said.
Although there is limited placement, parents can enroll their children in the program throughout the year, Fronzaglio said.
“There are 17 slots, and so far 12 are filled,” she said. “We can only accept another handful of families, but we are maintaining a waiting list.”
The Pre-K Counts program is not new to Washington or Greene counties. Fronzaglio said the program already is in Bethlehem-Center, Burgettstown, Central Greene, Jefferson-Morgan, McGuffey, Ringgold, Washington and West Greene school districts.
Trinity Superintendent Dr. Michael Lucas said some students within the district don’t attend a pre-K program.
“We wanted to offer this opportunity,” he said. “Getting into school earlier can be beneficial.”
As a result, Lucas said he hopes to expand the program to other elementary schools in the district if funding is available.
“We are looking to add a program at West (Elementary),” he said.
In the meantime, Lucas said the district is looking forward to seeing the results.
“It’s exciting,” he said.
Parents can visit https://caswg.org/ or call 724-225-9550, ext. 457, to enroll.