INDIANAPOLIS - It's been an up-hill battle for Indianapolis Public Schools trying to improve test scores and graduation rates. Now, the district is hoping a new full-day preschool program will have a lasting impact.
"The research tells us that children that have an early start in preschool do better in kindergarten," said Shalonda Murray, executive director of Auntie Mame's Children child development center, which will serve as one of the sites for the IPS Preschool program.
IPS Superintendent Eugene White said the success of full-day kindergarten and demand for a preschool program led to the decision to launch one.
"We don't still really have the money, but we can't afford to wait any longer in a situation where assessment drives accountability," White said.
Parents who already have children in preschool say it has made a huge difference in their children's abilities.
Sierra Bell's daughter, Ceonna, is enrolled at Auntie Mame's.
"She can speak Spanish a little bit as far as her letters, trying to put things together. She can spell her name and write her name, things like that," Bell said. "It's amazing."
IPS will begin enrolling students Jan. 19 and Jan. 23 at Arsenal Technical High School.
"We have a lot of parents that do not have jobs because they do not have childcare for their 4-year-olds. So, in addition to their child being in a quality learning environment, parents will be comfortable and confident in knowing that their children will have a great start in kindergarten," White said.
White said they will pull some money for the program from general and Title I funds. That means they will have to reduce some non-classroom staff to fund it.