Austin ISD hopes pre-k push helps boost enrollment

Pre-K Registration at Uphaus Early Childhood Center (KXAN Photo)
Pre-K Registration at Uphaus Early Childhood Center (KXAN Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin Independent School District will soon learn if their advertising efforts have paid off after launching a campaign at the beginning of the summer to attract more families.

It was a response to projections showing a potential drop in enrollment for the upcoming school year based on low birth rates and families moving to the suburbs where homes are more affordable.

The biggest drop is expected to be felt in the lower grade levels.

Austin ISD declared Wednesday “Pre-K Day” to encourage parents to register their children before the first day of school.

Delia Sanchez brought 4-year-old Josie to the Uphaus Early Childhood Center.

“She’s excited. She’s ready to come,” said Sanchez who is having a hard time with the change.

“She’s the baby out of four, so I kind of want to keep her at home.”

But she and others are excited about the future thanks to pre-k teachers like Diana Rendon who know there is a big job to do.

“It’s amazing how they come here and they don’t know anything and they leave, some of them leave pre-k reading and writing,” said Rendon.

She prepares her classroom for about 20 students.

“If they come, they come, if they don’t well at least I know we’re ready,” said Rendon. “It has been a little challenging to get parents out to register their kids these past few weeks, but I think because we’re more in vacation mode a lot of parents are either not aware of it or waiting ’til last minute.”

The district is trying to spread the word that the sooner families come, the better.

Austin ISD was not able to provide numbers for how many pre-k students they have registered, but last year’s enrollment was 4512.

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