Education, Latest News, Monongalia County

Kindergarten registration going on now for Mon Schools: District recognized nationally for its work in early education

Kindergarten registration is happening now for Monongalia County Schools, and parents and other caregivers registering the children in their households will receive preferential placement — if they get their applications in before April 15.

Visit for details on how to register and other particulars.

Meanwhile, that newest class of kindergarteners may also round the curve quicker than a lot of their counterparts across the nation.

That’s because the local district has been doing the same, nationally.

Mon’s school system this past May was ranked sixth in the country for its efforts in getting the youngest of its students ready for classrooms to come.

The Mountain State earned that charting in the annual study by the National Institute for Early Education Research.

The District of Columbia topped the list, with Florida and Oklahoma rounding the top three.

Hawaii was last on the list, among the 45 states offering pre-kindergarten services at the time of the study.

Donna Talerico, the deputy superintendent of Mon’s district who began her career as an elementary school teacher, said the good grade was no surprise.

The local district was an early adapter of the universal pre-kindergarten model that is now the early education standard across the U.S., she said.

“I don’t want to say we’re an outlier, but that’s what we are.”

Mon’s Head Start and Early Head Start programs were also bolstered by a $1.6 million outlay in July by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Head Start and Early Head Start are family enrichment programs that have been fighting the fight for nearly 60 years now.

Both were born of President Lyndon Johnson’s federal War on Poverty initiatives in 1965.

In places such as West Virginia, with its prevalence of poverty and overall lack of educational attainment, those initiatives couldn’t be more critical, said Debbie Jones, who directs those programs for Mon Schools.

Changing dynamics from the state’s crushing opioid epidemic add one more set of clouds, she said to Board of Education members in February 2020, right before the pandemic hit.

Jones was talking then about grandparents tasked for caring for their grandchildren in the 21st century, as they attempted to navigate whole new sets of school bureaucracies and classroom politics and particulars — all of which had to seem utterly foreign to them.

“We’re looking at people who haven’t been in a school building in years,” the director said.

The new landscape, Jones told the BOE, is known as, “kinship care.”

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