NC Pre-K is a free preschool program that offers a rigorous pre-kindergarten education for qualifying four-year-olds. The full school-day, full school-year program is primarily funded by the state of North Carolina.
NC Pre-K is designed to level the playing field for children who are most at risk for school failure by equipping them to be successful when they enter elementary school and by enlisting parental support to help them to build on that success.
In Dare County, NC Pre-K - (formerly More at Four) has expanded from one section in 2003 to six sections serving 108 students. "Our kindergarten teachers are big fans of the program since they can better maintain the pace of learning and instruction," noted Judi Hornbeck, Director of Elementary Instruction.
Studies show that children served in quality pre-kindergarten programs exhibit substantial and lasting growth in key areas including language, literacy, math and social skills.
Though the program serves the district’s most at-risk four year olds, 99% of all students served have earned promotion to each successive grade; and program graduates by and large hold their own on state standardized tests.
"Research tells us that children who attend quality pre-k programs are more likely to graduate from high school," Hornbeck said. "However, the bottom line on NC Pre-K in Dare County Schools is that the benefits from funding this program extend well beyond the students' one-year pre-kindergarten experience.
"It pays big dividends to our communities by decreasing costs for academic intervention and the ultimate costs associated with students dropping out of school."