Registration is now open for 2021-2022 First-Class prekindergarten programs in both the Athens City and Limestone County school systems. Registration began Friday and will run through March 19 for Limestone County Schools and March 23 for Athens City Schools.

The programs are part of Alabama's Office of School Readiness, which helped provide pre-K education to more than 21,000 students in 2019. Alabama's First Class Pre-K program has been awarded the highest quality rating by the National Institute for Early Education Research for 13 consecutive years.

To qualify for First-Class Pre-K, children must be 4 years of age on or before Sept. 1. A completed registration form, copy of child's birth certificate, current utility bill for proof of residency and state immunization (blue) form will be required before the child enters school.

Registration can be completed online at for either system. Cost of monthly tuition depends on a sliding scale based on family income, ranging from $0 to $300.

Students are selected by lottery. LCS will hold a virtual lottery drawing March 23 in the system's board room. A recording will be posted to for anyone who wishes to watch afterward.

ACS will hold its lottery drawing March 24 at the system's central office. The drawing will not be open to the public due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Limestone County Schools has 10 First-Class Pre-K classrooms, with at least one in each elementary school in the district. According to LCS, students must register for the pre-K class at the elementary school they are zoned for.

Athens City Schools has three First-Class pre-K classrooms — two at iAcademy at Athens Elementary and one at HEART Academy at Julian Newman Elementary. ACS also has another tuition-based program, The Eagles Nest Pre-K, for children ages 3-5 with “diverse abilities.”

Classes in the program will be made up of at least 50% of students without disabilities and 50% or less of students with disabilities. According to ACS, placement of students with disabilities will be made by Individualized Education Program (IEP) teams as appropriate to meet the needs of the student.

“Children will be given opportunities to gain developmental skills in a structured preschool environment,” said ACS on its website. “Developmental skill areas will be addressed through instruction, art, physical activities, music, self-help, the use of technology and interaction with others.”

Visit for more information on either program at ACS.

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