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Originally published: 2013-02-28 10:47:22
Last modified: 2013-02-28 10:47:22

Pre-K screening dates set

Parents of children who will be 4 years old by Aug. 31 are invited to a free developmental screening March 23 or April 20.

Every Watauga County child who will turn 4 by that date is eligible for the screening, regardless of whether the child will be cared for at home or in child care or enrolled in the Watauga County Schools pre-kindergarten program. The screening is required for children entering the pre-K program.

The pre-K option is available only to children deemed "at-risk" by state criteria, which can include low household income or other factors.

Children living in the Bethel, Mabel and Cove Creek school districts may attend March 23 at Cove Creek School. Children living in the Hardin Park, Green Valley and Valle Crucis districts may attend March 23 or April 20 at Hardin Park. Children living in the Blowing Rock or Parkway districts may attend April 20 at Parkway.

Appointments are required for screenings, and the sessions will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. for both dates at all sites.

Anyone seeking an appointment should fill out the screening form, available online at under "Parent Links," then under "Forms, menus & other WCS information."

As part of the pre-K application process, parents must provide verification of household income, a copy of the child's certified birth certificate and two documents proving residence in Watauga County.

Parents who want to enroll a child in the pre-K program should bring the application to their screening appointment.

The number of spaces available for pre-K students will not be known until the N.C. General Assembly and Watauga County commissioners adopt their budgets for the 2013-14 fiscal year. Because of these uncertainties, the school system encourages parents to make alternative child care plans. Parents also should note that the after-school program is not available to pre-K children.

There are currently eight pre-K classrooms in Watauga County: two at Hardin Park, and one at each of the other elementary schools except Blowing Rock. The classrooms currently have space for 135 children, about a third of the 4-year-olds in Watauga County.

Any questions about pre-K or the screenings may be directed to Renee Battle at (828) 264-7190.