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New School Year Brings Free, Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten to Eight ISD 279 Schools

Aug 11, 2016 09:45PM ● Published by Wendy Erlien

File photo: Osseo Area Schools/ISD 279 Educational Service Center (photo by Wendy Erlien)

At the beginning of the 2016-17 school year, ISD 279 - Osseo Area Schools will be among the more than 70 school districts in the state to receive funding for free, voluntary pre-kindergarten programming.

Details about the funding, allocated by the Minnesota Legislature, were released Monday, Aug. 8 by Governor Mark Dayton. “Minnesota schools and families want voluntary pre-kindergarten, and our children need it to succeed,” he said.

Osseo Area Schools applied for approval at nine elementary schools and received funding approval for free, voluntary pre-kindergarten programming (estimated to serve more than 280 students) at eight schools: Birch Grove, Crest View, Edinbrook, Fair Oaks, Palmer Lake, Park Brook and Zanewood Elementary in Brooklyn Park and Garden City Elementary in Brooklyn Center.

Priority in funding was given to district schools with the “highest concentration” of kindergarten students eligible for free or reduced-price lunches that do not have a “Three- or Four-Star Parent Aware Rated child care or Head Start program within the district or in close proximity,” according to an ISD 279 district representative.

“Expanding pre-kindergarten has been priority work for Osseo Area Schools for several years,” ISD 279 Superintendent Kate Maguire said. “This funding will mean more students will have access to high-quality, hands-on early learning. Expanding access will help more students be prepared for kindergarten and on track to read at grade level by grade three, which are two of the state’s World’s Best Workforce goals.”

To be eligible for free pre-kindergarten classes, students must be at least four-years-old by Sept. 1, 2016 to enroll. Enrollment is on a first come, first serve basis and the district does have an open enrollment option. Spaces are limited. Classes begin Sept. 6, according to a district representative, with enrollment continuing to be accepted as space allows at each site.

For more information on enrollment, contact the ISD 279 – Osseo Area Schools Enrollment Center at 763-585-7350. 

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