To date, 650 children are registered for pre-kindergarten in Monongalia County’s school district for this coming year.
Another 850 have been signed up for kindergarten by their parents.
Which just might be the best inoculation of all for a district still trying to find its true north in COVID-tossed seas, Donna Talerico, Mon’s deputy superintendent of schools, said earlier.
“Our resources are people,” she said.
And enrollment numbers – preferably ones trending upward – are hard currency, as school districts continue to receive federal monies with time limits attached.
The local district just received another $18 million in federal monies from the American Resource Plan – and every cent of the outlay will go to student-centered programs, Talerico said.
That’s everything from free breakfast and lunch for all students, no matter their household income, through the end of the 2024 academic year, she said.
Classes in robotics and e-gaming will also be added, the deputy superintendent said.
The state Department of Education last week approved Mon County’s spending plan, Talerico said.
A $450,000 line item will fund 11 school-based social worker positions, she said.
Free breakfast and lunch are on the menu for the next three years, thanks to that $2.5 million the district tucked in its wallet for that purpose.
The district wants to expand the numbers of school nurses and psychologists who will work with students daily through a $1.6 million line item, Talerico said.
A total of $300,000 will fund extra-duty contracts for those teachers providing lesson plans remotely to quarantined students.
Because reading fluency scores are again down in the county, another $100,000 will go to the training of teachers as literacy specialists, the deputy superintendent said.
The math and the motivation, she said, are both as uncomplicated as they aren’t.
Enrollment has to be there to support the new features, Talerico said. And the programs and other initiatives have to garner proven results.
It’s that, or the new programs and personnel will be cut from the rolls.
“We want to do right by every student,” she said.
In the meantime, the plan is open for public comment through Wednesday.
To see a pdf and video detailing the allotment, visit https://boe.mono.k12.wv.us/.