Georgia’s Pre-Kindergarten program turns 30 this year, and October’s annual Pre-K Week is a time to showcase its benefits and encourage leaders to visit classrooms and read to children.
October 3-7, marked the 12th annual Georgia Pre-K Week, and community leaders, volunteers and legislators around the state and in Bulloch County visited Pre-K classrooms to read this year’s selected book, “Hey Georgia,” by Malcolm Mitchell, and other titles. Fun fact – this year’s official book was inspired by First Lady Marty Kemp.
Founded by former Governor Zell Miller in 1992, the Georgia Pre-K Program is a free and voluntary early learning option for all of the state’s four-year-olds regardless of parental income. The program has been a national model. Its classrooms in public and private schools and childcare centers continue to lay a solid foundation for academic excellence and future success for children.
In 2010, the Georgia Legislature nearly cut the program due to funding constraints. That’s when Voices for Georgia’s Children, along with partner organizations like Bright from the Start: Department of Early Care and Learning, launched Georgia Pre-K Week. The goal is to emphasize the importance of quality early childhood education by providing opportunities for leaders to engage with Pre-K classrooms in their local communities. Corporations like Synovus and Georgia Power Company help sponsor the statewide event.
Bulloch County Schools has 20 pre-k classes located at 11 sites on nine of the district’s elementary schools and two of its high school campuses. These classes serve more than 400 children. Bulloch County Schools also serves special needs students through its Preschool Intervention Program. The school system has 38 pre-k teachers and assistant teachers. Principals and assistant principals serve as site directors at their campuses, and Crystal Simpkins, the school district’s Early Learning Director is the district coordinator for the program.
Bulloch County Schools would like to thank all of this year’s guest readers. These are the community celebrities who were invited by the school district to read. Schools may have invited other local parents and volunteers to read as well:
- Altrusa Club of Statesboro: Carri Vscio, Marilyn Darrell, Martha Ray, Nancy Shumaker, Carol Case, Deborah McLendon, Eileen Rice, Sue Flower, Gwen Yarbrough, Pat Parson;
- Georgia Power: Lisa Bell and Antonio Orozc;
- City of Statesboro: Shari Barr;
- Grice Connect: DeWayne Grice;
- Bulloch Solutions: Stuart Gregory;
- Statesboro Real Estate: Paul Newman;
- Summertime Enterprises: Micheal and Vivian Summers;
- Statesboro-Bulloch Chamber of Commerce: Mandy Broadwell from the Statesboro Chamber of Commerce; Georgia State Patrol: Sgt. Scott;
- Georgia Southern Athletics’ administration, coaches and athletes: Jared Benko, Izzy Ptacek. Lilly Kasra, Meghan Phifer, Sean McCaffrey, and the Georgia Southern Men’s Basketball Team;
- Parent volunteers: Brandi Stanberry, Erin Cribbs, Ashley Farmer, Rosanna McElveen, Hannah Zeigler;
- Bulloch County Schools’ Central Office: Superintendent Charles Wilson, Teresa Phillips, DeeDee Bennett, Bethany Gilliam, Michael Powell, Georgia Darsey, Tracy Robinson, Stacy Frost, Jeff Giddens, Lori Oren, Ashlee Redding, Julie Wilson, Hayley Cain, Cynthia Dean, Savanna Connor, and Crystal Simpkins.
Voices for Georgia’s Children
Voices for Georgia’s Children is a nonprofit child policy and advocacy organization that envisions a Georgia where children are safe, healthy, educated, employable, and connected to their family and community. Their mission is to be a powerful, unifying voice for a public agenda that ensures the well being of all of Georgia’s children.