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Bryan brings back in-person registration, push for pre-K enrollment
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Bryan brings back in-person registration, push for pre-K enrollment

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The Bryan school district has set up a one-stop registration event in the district’s administration building for parents to register students new to Bryan schools.

“Really, it’s one-stop shop,” Jennifer Lemons, director of data services for the district, said Tuesday. “Our goal is to have families come to this, and when they leave, their student is ready for the first day of school.”

Representatives from multiple district departments were on hand to help answer parents’ questions, check students’ forms and shot records and assist parents completing the online enrollment process.

Maria Vazquez, who was enrolling her daughter in the district, said it is helpful to have the on-site assistance for the online enrollment portion and also to help answer her question about if her daughter can attend the same school as her son, who receives special services in the district.

The registration event, which will continue from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. today, marks the return of an in-person option for parents after last year’s process was strictly online.

“It’s nice to kind of connect with families,” Lemons said. “A lot of people can take care of all of the online stuff, but they don’t really get that personal connection and invariably they’re doing great, but then like, ‘Well what about?’”

She said the district employees working the event enjoy it too.

“We’ve missed seeing people,” Lemons said.

The registration event is open for any new student to Bryan schools; however, there is a push for students entering pre-K and kindergarten, she said.

After a drop in early childhood enrollment last year, Matthew LeBlanc, the district’s executive director of communications and public affairs, said, the district is hoping to have 600 to 800 students enrolled in the district’s full-day pre-K. The 2021-2022 school year will be the first with the Fueling Brains “Ready Set Grow” early childhood program.

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The district is one of just a handful of districts in the state to implement the program since it has been available, and it will also be offered for students enrolled in the district’s free and tuition-based pre-K programs.

The Ready Set Grow program is an early childhood learning suite that includes a parent portal to help educate parents and share data, professional development for district employees and the ability to track students’ learning and skills development, Schronda McKnight-Burns, assistant director of early childhood education in Bryan, explained.

“We’ll be able to not only know what they’re learning, but understand why they are or are not picking up on something, which is amazing,” she said.

One of the most important aspects of the program, she said, is that it focuses on the whole child addressing academics, social-emotional development and other skills, while allowing teachers to create targeted instruction for each child.

One student might struggle with social-emotional development, but another student might struggle with reading and literacy skills, and the teacher can work with each child on their needs. The program is done in phases, she said, beginning with the foundation each child needs.

“The first phase is to teach kids how to do school,” McKnight-Burns said, noting a big part of that is helping students understand how to self-regulate their feelings and emotions.

The program has right-brain and left-brain classrooms where students will spend half the day in each classroom. The right-brain classroom has more hands-on and exploratory learning, she said, while the left-brain classroom has more small-group and individualized learning.

The Fueling Brains program does not follow one specific learning approach, but combines the best of multiple systems.

With the program, McKnight-Burns said, she will be able to track the students’ learning through elementary school and beyond.

“What makes me excited is I get to see how they’re growing, how they’re developing and how we’re meeting their needs,” she said. “That’s what excites me about this whole thing too.”

The registration event will continue from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the Bryan school district’s administration building at 801 S. Ennis Street. Afterward, the online registration process will remain open on the district’s website.

“We’re just here to serve our families, and make getting enrolled easy,” Lemons said. “That’s our goal.”

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