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Pre-K program awards scholarships

Children in the Pre-kindergarten programs participate in circle time. Park Rapids Area School District was awarded a state grant to be used in part for tuition scholarships.

 Five families in the Park Rapids school district recently received scholarships for pre-kindergarten education thanks to a state grant.  Park Rapids was awarded $37,500 from the Minnesota Department of Education Pathway II grant to be used this current school year to pay Pre-K tuition for five qualifying families.  Jill Dickinson and Tammy Boyd of Park Rapids Community Education found out about the grant Nov. 13 and are excited for the opportunities the scholarships provide.  

“This is a big deal,” Dickinson said. “We’ve got working families that value pre-school, who a lot of times are paying daycare on top of the tuition. This will help them.”  This is the first time the district has been awarded the Pathway II grant and families must meet certain criteria to be eligible for the scholarships.  

The district’s Pre-K collaborative consists of School Readiness, Head Start and Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE). School Readiness costs $162 per month in tuition. The scholarship grant takes that financial pressure off five families. Head Start and ECSE are no charge for families that qualify.  The grant also pays for some transportation costs, parent education piece on nutrition, fresh fruits and vegetables for the students, iPads for the classrooms and technology training for staff.  Classes are offered half-days Monday-Thursday, or two full days each week.