January 2024 marks the midpoint of MECK Pre-K’s sixth year in operation. Launched in 2018, MECK Pre-K is a high-quality pre-K education open to all four-year-old children in Mecklenburg County at no cost to families. As MECK Pre-K enters its sixth year, let’s look back at some key milestones, and look forward to the 2024-2025 school year!
Capacity and enrollment have increased significantly since MECK Pre-K opened. In Year 1, the 2018-2019 School Year, MECK Pre-K launched with 33 classrooms in 20 child development centers, and capacity for 600 students. In Year 6, the 2023-2024 School Year, MECK Pre-K has grown to 105 classrooms in 47 child development centers, and capacity for 1,890 students. That’s a 215% capacity increase.
Applications have also increased, by around 80%. As of January 2, 2024, MECK Pre-K had received 2,679 eligible applications for the 2023-2024 school year. In 2019, the number of eligible applications for the second year of MECK Pre-K was 1,478.
Most of the children who attended MECK Pre-K in its first year are in fourth grade today. MECK Pre-K is conducting an independent, longitudinal evaluation to track MECK Pre-K students through 5th grade to assess the long-term impacts of the program. Results of that evaluation will not be available until later, but will provide priceless insights that can be used not only in our community, but in the pre-K industry as a whole.
The number one factor influencing success for children in an early childhood classroom is the quality and level of preparedness of the teacher. Finding licensed and highly qualified teachers is an important priority for MECK Pre-K and its educational partners. So, in 2022, MECK Pre-K became a NC Beginning Teacher Support Program. This allows MECK Pre-K to grow its own cadre of well prepared, highly skilled, licensed public school teachers. Bringing this program in house enables us to guide the development of our teachers and help them realize their potential to be the level of guide, mentor, and instructor we expect.
How You Can Enroll
Starting in late January visit MECKPreK.org and click on “Apply Now!” It will take you to our application platform, where you can apply for the upcoming year. MECK Pre-K is open to all four-year-old children in Mecklenburg County. Classrooms are located in licensed child development centers and taught by licensed teachers and highly qualified assistant teachers. Your child must turn four by August 31 of that school year. If your child will not turn four in time, you can sign up to be notified when registration opens for their age group.
If you are interested in learning more about being a MECK Pre-K teacher, you can sign up for our Teacher Mailing List! We’ll send you information about working for MECK Pre-K and a link to current pre-K teacher openings on the Smart Start Job Board.