Seven new early childhood education pre-K programs for four-year-old students were approved by the Mississippi State Board of Education on Thursday.
The programs, called early learning collaboratives (ELC), are expected to better prepare over 2,000 Mississippi preschoolers for kindergarten.
The new ELCs are:
- Jackson Public Schools – Hinds Early Learning Collaborative
- Noxubee Early Learning Collaborative
- Senatobia Early Learning Collaborative
- Holmes Early Learning Collaborative
- Leland Early Learning Collaborative
- Long Beach Early Learning Collaborative
- Pontotoc Pre-K Partners Early Learning Collaborative (City of Pontotoc only)
A total of $15.4 million in grants from state funds for the 2021-2022 school year were given for the expansion of ELCs, a large increase from the prior year’s $8 million.
With the newly approved programs, a total of 35 additional classrooms will be added to the 72 existing classrooms that use ELCs, bringing the total amount of ELC students to 6,000.
State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carey Wright commented on the seven programs, saying that the expansion is the largest since the program was established in 2013.
“Early learning collaboratives have proven to be successful, and they continue to give Mississippi’s youngest students access to a quality early childhood education, positioning them for greater academic achievement,” Wright explained.