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Teacher's Assignment Turns into Pilot Program

Step Up to Kindergarten Implemented in Jacksonville.
JACKSONVILLE, AR - What started out as a Masters assignment for one first grade teacher, turns into a pilot program at her Jacksonville elementary school.

The program will benefit students that didn't attend Pre-K.

Jamie Platt's Facebook page shows how excited her first graders are about school.

The best part of her job? "Just watching their growth," Platt says.

Not only did she notice growth, but also a lack in foundational skills.

"Well Pre-K is not mandated in the United States, but it's recognized by the Pediatric Association and by the government that it's necessary," she adds.

At Murrell Taylor Elementary School, where Jamie teaches, faculty noticed this year only 20 students out of five classrooms went to Pre-K.

"And we had struggles this year meeting grade level expectations," she explains.

Looking for a solution, Platt's Masters program project turned into school reform, forming a new program.

"Step Up to Kindergarten is going to target those kids and we are going to give them a foundation, that they didn't have with their lack of Pre-K experience," says Platt.

The program will start this summer at Murrell Taylor. Principal Jackie Smith, has arranged for students to come in every day and study math, reading and writing.

"We are using Title 1 funds and we are going to implement it," she says.

There are still slots available for the program.

It's free for students who have not attended a PCSSD ABC Program and are zoned to Murrell Taylor Elementary.

PCSSD Superintendent, Dr. Jerry Guess, says he is thinking about implementing the program district wide.
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