Arkansas Better Chance:

In 1991, the legislators of Arkansas enacted Act 212 creating Arkansas Better Chance with funding of $10 million. The program was designed to serve children through five years of age with a variety of developmental and economic risk factors. In 2001, additional funding was added through a 3% excise tax on certain products to help fund early education. In 2003, Act 49 expanded ABC across the state with the addition of $40 million in funding, creating the ABC for School Success program. The purpose of this expansion of early childhood quality educational opportunities is to increase the likelihood of academic success in an at-risk population. In 2005, the Legislature was able to add $20 million in funding for ABCSS. The total funding for ABC and ABCSS stands at over $71 million and will service over 18,500 children in Arkansas.

In the Paragould School District, we serve 26 infant/toddler ABC students and 110 students ages 3-5. The preschool children are spread over two campus sites: School of the 21st Century Elmwood and the Paragould Primary school. The core quality components include:

  • Low student to teacher ratio/well qualified/compensated staff
  • Professional Development
  • Developmental screening and child assessment
  • Meaningful parent and community engagement activities
  • Proven curricula and learning processes which serve as the basis of ABC funding levels

21st Century Community Learning Center Grant:

The 21CCLC preschool classroom is in the fifth year of the funding cycle. This classroom serves 20 children which were four years old by August 1, 2013. The classroom has one certified teacher holding a P-4 Arkansas Teaching License. In addition, a highly qualified paraprofessionals assists in the care and education of each student to allow maintain the ratio as 1:10. The classroom is located at the Paragould Primary School campus site. Two mini-grants have been awarded in the last two years which purchased an art kiln with supplies and gardening and interactive playground materials.

In addition to the 21CCLC and ABC funding, Title I and NSLA funding is used to help target at-risk students at the Paragould Primary Pre-K Program.

Parents as teachers parenting Partners program:

Parents as Teachers is a free and voluntary home visiting program. The participant must be a Greene County woman of any age parenting a child or children age 5 or younger.

  • The vision: All children will develop, learn, and grow to realize their full potential. 
  • The mission: Parents as Teachers promotes the optimal early development, learning, and health of children by supporting and engaging their parents and caregivers.
  • 4 dynamic components: Personal Visits, Group Connections, Resource Network, and Child Screening

This project is funded through a grant from the Maternal Infant Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV). For more information, contact Jennifer Keys at (870) 240-2281 x 7003 or by email at jkeys@paragouldschools.net.