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March 27, 2014

Parents arrive early to pre-enrollment kids in pre-k

DUNCAN — Alan and Ashley Johnson showed up  about 2:30 a.m. Wednesday, marked their place in line and then walked back to their car to go to sleep.

 That’s what it takes if you want to be first in line when pre-enrolling a child in Duncan’s popular pre-K program.

    After the Johnson couple arrived,  the line grew to  nearly 90 people, all eager to enroll their children into the pre-K program at Will Rogers and Irving schools.

   In all, about 225 children are enrolled in the program: 125 at Will Rogers and 100 at Irving.

The doors to the school district’s offices opened about 7:30 a.m., just as rain started to fall on waiting parents. Many of them arrived between 4 and 5 a.m.

   Last year, the Johnsons, who have two children, arrived about 5:30 a.m. and were stuck near the back of the line.

“We got here pretty early,” Alan Johnson said. “If not, you see what happens.”

Barbara Fleetwood, clerk for Will Rogers, said there is usually a lengthy line to enroll in the program. Fleetwood said it’s a sign people take their children’s education seriously and know Duncan’s program to be among the best.

“I think we have a really good reputation,” Fleetwood said.

When the pre-kindergarten program started, the program was housed in four of Duncan’s elementary schools. About seven years ago, the program moved into Will Rogers, a former elementary school. Only a few years later, the program grew to where it was also housed in Irving School, the former site of the EDGE Academy.

Fleetwood said the program has developed to an full day program. The only school in the area to continue to offer a half-day program is Marlow Public Schools, but that will change to a full-day program for the 2014-15 school year.

Duncan Superintendent Sherry Labyer said she is excited to see the number of parents waiting to enroll their children because it shows how much stock they put into early education.

“We want those kids,” Labyer said.

Fleetwood said there would probably be people enrolling their children throughout the day Wednesday, but there would probably be a few more to arrive in the days following to fill any remaining spots.

Once all of the spots in the program are filled, a waiting list  will start.

Koree Wilkerson, Will Rogers/Irving principal, said the pre-kindergarten program  isn’t the same as it used to be. Children are getting more of an education at an earlier age as educational requirements increase.

“We are what used to be kindergarten,” Wilkerson said.

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