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Early learning collaboratives paying off in George County

Published: Sep. 20, 2021 at 2:17 PM CDT
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GEORGE COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) -The name of the game at Agricola Elementary School is early childhood learning.

More specifically, the early learning collaboratives are what’s on the menu. It’s a program State Sen. Brice Wiggins co-authored back in 2013.

“Since that time, Mississippi’s been rated top five in the country in early education,” Wiggins said. “This is my first opportunity to see how things are going right now in George County and let me tell you, it’s amazing.”

Right now, ringing endorsements for the program are set in 18 districts around the state, including George County. Tonya Hembree said her pre-K 4 class is cleaning up when it comes to education as well as life skills.

“At home, we love our children and we want them to be the best that they can be. Pre-K extends that and not only loves and them but builds them in different areas,” Hembree said.

The program’s been built through the years through state funding, tax-free donations, and most recently with state lottery dollars. Now the goal is to keep the collaborative growing from the ground up.

“This is not kinder care,” said Wade Whitney, George County Schools Superintendent. “This is real school at the pre-K level. They’re getting skills at the pre-K level that they may not be getting anywhere else. Pre-K is a game-changer in our school district.”

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