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Houston and West Main Elementary Schools Designated as Texas Education Agency Pre-K Centers of Excellence

Lancaster, TX/Lancaster ISD

This week, the Lancaster Independent School District was notified that Houston and West Main Elementary Schools received the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and Regional Education Service Center (ESC) 17’s designation as Pre-K Centers of Excellence.

Both principals—Stefani Morrow of West Main and Patonia Bell of Houston—said that they are proud of their campus’ accomplishment.

“It is a great honor to have West Main Elementary recognized for our effective early childhood school program,” Principal Stefani Morrow said. “Our Pre-K teachers act with intention and purpose and I am pleased to know that our effort to improve instruction PK-5 at West Main is being recognized. We focus on enhancing teaching and learning for all. Often, primary grades are overlooked by the mandates that come along with multiple assessments in upper grades. It is my belief that these formative years set the stage for future learning. Therefore, excellence in instruction is paramount, even for Pre-K.”

Ms. Bell said that this designation just reaffirms what she already knows about her staff and students.

“As a campus, this designation recognizes the fact that our Pre-K students move on to kindergarten with the developed skill sets for reading to perform well. Based on our campus data, our Pre-K students have performed well since 2008, which is a strong indicator that our program is effective,” she said. “Four out of five of our current Pre-K teachers have received the CIRCLE training which focuses on Texas School Readiness (TSR). Therefore, our teachers are equipped with the right tools to train our students for best practices in the classroom.”

The Kindergarten Readiness System (KRS) is the state’s school readiness certification system that recognizes the efforts of local Pre-K programs that are getting students ready for kindergarten. The statewide program uses a transparent methodology to designate high-quality Pre-K programs as Pre-K Centers of Excellence. The KRS analytical approach identifies how well a particular Pre-K program prepares preschoolers for kindergarten success.

At West Main, if you visit a Pre-K classroom, you will find teachers engaging students in a multi-faceted approach, addressing the whole child.

“Students are challenged and instructed socially, emotionally and most importantly academically,” Morrow said. “The learning environment has created a culture where students are self-directed and encouraged to explore. The respectful and nurturing climate allows students to achieve at optimal levels daily.”

A Pre-K class at Houston would look very similar.

“You would see student-based learning, teacher facilitation and hands-on learning experiences, “Bell said. “Students are challenged using learning centers, small groups and self-exploration to master the Pre-K curriculum and standards."

The KRS is the only system in the nation that accommodates all program types and uses input data from a student’s preschool as well as outcome data from the kindergarten reading diagnostic instrument to determine the effectiveness of early childhood education programs in preparing students for kindergarten

The KRS informs parents and communities about the positive student impact high-quality early childhood education programs offer. This state designation assures parents that their children are getting the educational foundation they need to succeed in kindergarten.

Both campuses will be recognized and honored at the Lancaster ISD November 26 School Board Meeting at 6:30 p.m.

The Lancaster Public Schools serve more than 6,000 pre-kindergarten through grade 12 students in 11 schools. The mission of the Lancaster Independent School District, a leader in providing innovative, quality programs, is to educate every student with the knowledge; skills; and principles to succeed and contribute in a competitive and technologically advancing world by providing rigorous and engaging learning opportunities that promote diversity; create an environment of integrity and respect; and establish a commitment to continued improvement in partnership with families and community.
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422 S. Centre Ave. Lancaster, TX 75146 ~ 972.218.1400 ~ www.LancasterISD.org