VILAS — Even though most Watauga County Schools students are remote learning, pre-K and special needs students are enjoying time learning from school buildings.

Jordan Myers is a pre-K teacher at Cove Creek School through the Lucy Brock Child Development Laboratory Program, and has 10 students currently enrolled in his class.

He said the school and his class have new procedures in place due to the pandemic, but his students have acclimated to them well. Myers said some of his students have noticed a difference in how school is operating since a few of them have previously been in early care and education settings, but the students seem used to some changes like adults wearing masks.

“While some things are different, the focus still remains on the importance of building relationships and learning,” Myers said. “We are making the best of the new world in which we live.”

The Lucy Brock Child Development Laboratory Program stated that it serves more than 90 families and operates sites on Appalachian State University’s campus and in preschool classrooms at three regional schools in Watauga County Schools — Parkway Elementary School, Blowing Rock Elementary and Cove Creek Elementary School.

The collaboration between the university and the WCS public school system is part of a grant through the Children’s Council of Watauga County, according to the program. The approximate $600,000 award allows Lucy Brock to serve area children who are deemed “at-risk” — those who have a disability, are English language learners and/or are from low-income families — in a traditional pre-K setting. The program also serves local families with children who are not identified as "at-risk."

WCS stated that the pre-K programs offered at the other five elementary schools are funded through the state, and the Children’s Council serves as the North Carolina Pre-kindergarten Program contact administrator for the schools.

For more information about NC Pre-K, visit www.thechildrenscouncil.org/nc-prekindergarten.html.

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