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Governor announces pre-k initiative at Brown Academy

Surrounded by a group of youngsters at Tommie F. Brown Academy of Classical Learning, home of the UTC Children’s Center, Governor Phil Bredesen announced a $25 million initiative to serve at risk four-year-olds across the state and awarded Hamilton County Schools 13 new voluntary pre-kindergarten classrooms.

Governor Phil Bredesen meets
students at Brown Academy

Last spring, the Tennessee General Assembly passed landmark legislation to begin the process of making pre-k available to every four-year-old in Tennessee and to fund this year’s expansion of the state’s nationally recognized pre-k program.

“We are focusing on at-risk children, but every child in the state can benefit from pre-kindergarten class,” Bredesen said.

Each classroom could serve up to 20 children, adding approximately 6,000 students to the state’s existing pre-k program. Since 1998, Tennessee has funded about 150 pre-k classrooms for 3,000 children as part of a pilot program. The program emphasizes the fundamentals for learning, including reading, math, and critical thinking skills.

Sitting among the young students
at Brown Academy is Dr. Mary
Tanner, Dean of the College of
Health, Education and
Professional Studies

“This is not a silver bullet, but it is an important piece of an educational strategy,” said Bredesen. “We must continue to work for increased pay for teachers, find funding for professional development, and find ways to encourage direct parental involvement, while focusing on job creation to keep our future workers in this state.”

Learn more about:

  • Brown Academy opened in fall 2003, through a partnership between Hamilton County Schools and The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
  • With unprecedented speed and cooperation, the planning, construction and opening of the school occurred in two years. Along with Battle Academy, Brown Academy is one of two locations for the UTC Children’s Center, where children from six weeks of age through prekindergarten are served. The Tennessee Department of Human Services licenses the center.

August 8, 2005

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