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San Antonio District Offers Home School Pre-K Package

By Early Years blogger Julie Blair

Many families ineligible for San Antonio's new Pre-K 4 SA program or other district preschool offerings and unable to afford private schools are being invited to home school their children under the tutelage of district coaches if they live in Southwest ISD, one of San Antonio's 15 independent school districts.

The program, currently dubbed the Southwest ISD Virtual Pre-K Program, is giving iPads loaded with a literacy curriculum to 400 families over two years, said Brenda Patrick, the director of community education for the 13,000-student district. Parents will then meet with early-childhood coaches to help them implement the course over the year, to design learning strategies, and to and monitor student progress, she said.

The cost to families is between $30 and $40 annually, Patrick said.

"You've got a child and parent working shoulder-to-shoulder on building literacy skills," she added. "It's not just about student progress: When you've empowered a parent, you've empowered the whole family."

It became clear during this year's preschool enrollment fairs that the web of programming currently offered by the city and the school district wasn't reaching the entire population that could use it, Patrick said.

"The thought of any 4-year-old turned away from school just crushes us," she added.

The program will cost the district $550,000 over two years, said Bill Atkins, the assistant superintendent for business and finance for the district.

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