An Initiative From:

Paragould - School of the 21st Century

Infants in the schools and child care available on snow days – these were only a vision back in 1991, when Edward Zigler, Professor Emeritus, Yale University; and Founder, the School of the 21st Century Program (21C), came to Paragould, Arkansas, to address the community. The event he spoke at marked the beginning of 21C in Paragould and focused on Goals 2000, a national and state comprehensive education plan. By August 1992, educators in Paragould were working with Yale 21C staff to develop - on the basis of a community wide needs assessment - a comprehensive plan for child care and family support programs in the district's schools.

Thus began the Paragould 21C program. Initially three components were offered:
• All day child care for children ages three and four
• Before- and after-school care for kindergarten through sixth grade
• Parents as Teachers, which provides outreach and guidance for parents of children birth to three years old through home visitations

Over the last decade, the Paragould 21C program has grown and expanded to serve over 300 children and families on a daily basis. Literacy programs are an important focus. In addition, State Accreditation is a vital feature of the program., enabling educators to keep tabs on the quality of care. The Paragould School District has been exceptional in its support of the School of the 21st Century by providing space, utilities, and internet connection for the entire building. The Paragould 21C program currently offers:
• Infant care beginning at six weeks
• Infant/Toddler site at the Central Alternative School
• Year-round childcare for children ages three to twelve located on four sites
• Information and referral services
• Support and training to child care providers through onsite CDA classes
• Special Needs program for ages three to five
• High School Volunteers
• Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) for ages 3 to 5 years through the Arkansas Better Chance Program
• Even Start Family Literacy
• Books for Newborns
• Family of Readers (Reading is FUNdamental Program)
• AR State Accredited Program – all sites

Paragould School District utilizes the “neighborhood” school concept at its three elementary buildings, with a single junior/senior high campus that is centrally located. There is a 5th/6th grade school located at Oak Grove and a county alternative school located at the Oakwood campus (Central School) for 7th – 12th graders. The district has a total of 2604 students in K – 12th and 150 infants to five year olds.

Contact: Vicki Shelby, Director

427 East Poplar
Paragould, AR 72450
Phone (870) 236-8064
Fax (870) 236-6151

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