MO pre-K education initiative centers around Carthage School District

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“Governor Parson has really been an advocate for early childhood education,” explained Beth James with the Carthage School District.

And now there’s big funding to see where to take that in the future.

$6.5 million from the federal government will push the “Stronger Together Missouri” initiative.

“Learning about the opportunities that their students have in birth through age five, which would include Parents as Teachers and our early childhood program,” James added.

Carthage has been named as part of the research effort — a meeting for state education staff to find out what local parents need and want.

“‘The availability of child care for children birth to two — what is the availability of child care post two?’ ‘What is the chance and opportunity for preschool?’ Those type of questions are what they’re going to be asking,” James continued.

…With a special focus on Hispanic parents.

“The governor and DESE wanted Carthage to take part because of the Hispanic population, so they would have a voice in the program planning going on statewide,” James explained.

…Something Carthage school leaders are very interested in.

Their early childhood center is just a couple of years old, but has the demand to expand if there’s funding for construction.

“I do believe there is a strong push to enhance the early childhood programs,” said James.

State workers will meet with Carthage parents in a couple of weeks.

Nearly two dozen parents will be invited to help them identify potential areas for growth.

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