This week, Missoula County Public Schools announced a new Early Kindergarten program that will begin at the end of this month. According to MCPS spokeswoman Hatton Littman, there will be two classrooms for students and the county is looking for students in a few particular areas.

"We are looking for students who live in a few targeted neighborhoods around Lolo Elementary, Franklin Elementary, Russell Elementary and Hawthorne Elementary," Littman said. "We are also looking for students who might be limited in their English language skills, students who might not have had English as their first language in their home and students who might be experiencing homelessness or poverty."

This new early kindergarten program is for students who will turn four, before September 10th and parents have until this Friday to turn in their applications. Classes will begin on the 26th of September, so there isn’t much time and there aren’t that many positions open.

"There are only 40 spots this year," Littman said. "We will have to see how the program goes to see if we are able to expand it next year. We are really excited to offer this benefit to those working parents who need a place for their students to get ready for kindergarten and really anybody that needs that full day opportunity for students to get those kindergarten readiness skills cemented."

While some school districts in Montana were able to start similar programs using state grant money, that is not the case in Missoula. Littman says the program here is being funded through the general school fund and operations budget.

More details about the application process can be found in the transcript below:

Parents interested in applying for the program will follow a two-stage process. Applications are accepted at the Jefferson Center everyday between 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. There will also be evening registration nights from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, September 5th and Thursday, September 6, 2018. During these registration nights, parents will be able to tour the facility and meet the teachers. All applications must be received by Friday, September 7, 2018 at 4:00 p.m.

Parents will need to provide the following information when applying for the program:
A copy of the student's Birth Certificate. (The hospital issued Certificate of Live Birth is NOT a birth certificate.)
Address Verification - two items that verify physical home address, such as utility bill, phone bill or lease agreement. 

Applications will be reviewed the week of September 10th and parents whose students are invited to enroll will be notified by September 14, 2018. At that time, parents who wish to enroll will complete the full MCPS enrollment packet, including the student’s immunization records.

The first day of class will be Wednesday, September 26, 2018, and the last day of classes will be Friday, June 7, 2018. Families will be welcomed to attend a parent night about the program on Monday, September 24, 2018.