TYLERTOWN — Walthall County School District, like other districts in the state, is still figuring out how to open and operate schools this fall with COVID-19 still circulating in the community, but it will slightly expand its services when it does open.

District officials announced this month that the district won a competitive grant to help implement a preschool class in the district.

“What a crazy time to get it,” Assistant Superintendent Dr. Bradley Brumfield said on Tuesday. “We’re trying to figure out how to get the other students back in school, and now we need to figure out how to get 4-year-olds in, too.”

He said the grant is not deferrable, meaning the school district must accept it now or lose out on the program.

Brumfield said the class will be based at Tylertown Primary School, and must be a “blended” class. At least 40% of the students served in the class must have a documented special need of some kind.

Parents of younger special-needs students that already receive services from the district were informally surveyed and expressed interest in the class.

The district needs at least 15 students in order to be offered, and can have a maximum of 20 students, Brumfield said.

“We’re excited to be able to have this class,” Brumfield said. “We need to get a system to screen applicants in place. Once we start advertising and can accept applications, I think a lot of people will  respond. “

Children will be selected for the class on a first-come, first-serve basis, with a recognized readiness screener used to help make the final determination.

Parents interested in having their children considered for the program can go to the district’s website, www.wcsd.k12.ms.us, and click the link for “Pre-K4 Interest Form,” or access the form directly at https://forms.gle/jm9ZcuXw2DZvzDyS9.

Superintendent Wade Carney told school board members that the district was one of four chosen to receive the grant, which draws on federal funds alloted to the Mississippi Department of Education.

A teacher and assistant had not been selected as of the school board’s June meeting, but Carney and Brumfield said both current teachers and recent applicants could be considered for the class positions.

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