FWCS to offer On My Way Pre-K slots next year at Adams, Bloomingdale elementaries

March 16th, 2017

The signup deadline is March 31.

By Kevin Kilbane | News-Sentinel

Parents on limited incomes who want to give their 4-year-old a better chance for success in school now can enroll their child in an On My Way Pre-K program slot at Adams or Bloomingdale elementary schools in the Fort Wayne Community Schools district.

Each school will provide space for at least eight On My Way Pre-K students for the 2017-2018 school year, said Get Nichols, FWCS' assistant superintendent for elementary, said during an announcement Wednesday at Adams Elementary.

Interested parents will have to act quickly, though, because March 31 is the registration deadline for the On My Way Pre-K program. To register, they can call 211, text "prek" to 59769, or go to http://www.onmywayprek.org.

Families seeking to sign up a 4-year-old for one of the On My Way Pre-K slots at either Adams, 3000 New Haven Ave., or Bloomingdale, 1300 Orchard St., also must live within that school's attendance boundary because both are Title I schools serving low-income neighborhoods, Nichols said.

The On My Way Pre-K program provides state funds to help low-income families send their children to a high-quality pre-K program. Allen County is one of five counties statewide to participate in pilot testing of the program. The county pays 10 percent of the cost for the child to attend a qualified pre-K program, and the state pays the remainder of the cost, said David Nicole, president and CEO of United Way of Allen County, the lead social-service agency for the program in Allen County.

To be eligible to participate, a family's income must fall at or below 127 percent of federal poverty guidelines, Nicole said. The child also must be age 4 — but not yet age 5 — by Aug. 1.

In Allen County, about 1,500 to 1,600 4-year-olds are eligible for the program, and 214 are enrolled this year, Nicole said. He would like to see enrollment grow to 250 children or more, and the addition of FWCS as a provider will help move the community toward that goal.

United Way also is talking with other local public school systems about offering On My Way Pre-K in their school districts, Nicole said. One factor in participation is having a pre-K provider convenient to the family's location and schedule, he said.

United Way has developed a network of more than 40 child-care homes, centers and ministries that became eligible for On My Way Pre-K by meeting the state's Paths to Quality child-care standards. They offer a variety of pre-K programs ranging from full-day all year to half-day during the school year, Nicole said.

FWCS is Allen County's largest provider of pre-kindergarten education, serving more than 800 students in 19 buildings, Nichols said. The programs at Adams and Bloomingdale also had to go through the Paths to Quality evaluation process, but all FWCS pre-K programs already are accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the leading organization for U.S. early childhood professionals.

The school district hopes to offer On My Way Pre-K student slots in its pre-K programs at other schools, Nichols said, but officials want to evaluate how it goes next school year at Adams and Bloomingdale before expanding it to other pre-K sites.

FWCS started its On My Way Pre-K participation at Adams and Bloomingdale elementaries because their pre-K classes typically are the last of the district's pre-K programs to fill up with students, said Krista Stockman, FWCS public information officer. FWCS offers only half-day pre-K programs, with one class in the morning and a separate class in the afternoon.

Accepting On My Way Pre-K students at Adams and Bloomingdale also bring more state money to those schools, which then can use more of their federal Title I dollars for other needs, Stockman said.

In addition, getting more students into pre-K will better prepare them to succeed with learning when they start kindergarten, said Barbara Roberts, the coach for FWCS' Title I pre-K teachers.

More information

On My Way Pre-K

WHAT: Fort Wayne Community Schools will offer eight, state-funded On My Way Pre-K program student slots for 4-year-olds at both Adams and Bloomingdale elementary schools for the 2017-2018 school year. To be eligible, children must come from low-income families who live within the attendance boundary of the school where the child will attend.

WHEN: Enrollment deadline is March 31.

WHERE: Call 211, go to http://www.onmywayprek.org, text prek to 59769, or sign up during pre-kindergarten registration at 6 p.m. Tuesday at both Adams, 3000 New Haven Ave., and Bloomingdale, 1300 Orchard St.

Note: Allen County families whose income is at or below 127 percent of federal poverty guidelines can register a 4-year-old to attend a participating local On My Way Pre-K provider by calling 211 or going to go to http://www.onmywayprek.org.


Fort Wayne Community Schools will hold registration at 6 p.m. Tuesday for pre-kindergarten students for the 2017-2018 school year. Registration for kindergarten students will be 6 p.m. March 28. Parents can visit their child's school and learn more about its programs.

Children who will be age 4 on or before Aug. 1 may be eligible to attend pre-K, space permitting. Children who will be age 5 on or before Aug. 1 can attend kindergarten, which is available to all students who want to attend. 

Pre-K programs are offered to students living in the attendance areas of Abbett, Adams, Bloomingdale, Brentwood, Fairfield, Forest Park, Franke Park, Haley, Harrison Hill, Indian Village, Lindley, Maplewood, Northcrest, Price, Scott, South Wayne, Study, Washington and Waynedale elementary schools. Students living in the Haley attendance area will attend pre-K at Brentwood Elementary, and students in the Price attendance area will attend pre-K at Washington Elementary.

Parents unsure about what school their child will attend can call 467-2120.

For registration, parents should bring identification; the child’s birth certificate; two proofs of residence, such as a utility bill, medical bill, or mortgage or rental papers; and the child’s immunization history.