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Old school breathes new life

WINDSOR – Some dreams take years to become reality.

Some evidently take 19 days.

Less than three weeks after Bertie County Schools Director of Federal Programs Constance Richardson shared with the board of education her dream of opening the former Askewville Elementary School as a More At Four site, it has become reality.

Friday afternoon, Bertie County Schools Public Information Officer Brent Todd announced the opening of the Askewville Preschool and More At Four Center at the site of the former elementary school effective for the 2008-09 academic year.

He said the new site would be a benefit to students near the county seat of Bertie County as well as providing for all students in the district to be served.

“This will alleviate the longer bus rides and make sure all students in the county are served,” Todd said. “We were anxious to be able to provide a location for preschool and the More At Four program in the Windsor and Askewville areas.”

Todd said all Bertie County children who are four years old on or before August 31 and live in the district lines are eligible to attend at no cost.

He encouraged parents to begin the application process as soon as possible. Those applications are available at the Bertie County School’s administrative offices, located at 222 County Farm Road in Windsor. They can also be downloaded at www.bertie.k12.nc.us.

Earlier this year, the school district reopened the former C.G. White High School as a preschool and More At Four center. While that effort has been labeled a success by the district, Richardson said its location at the northern end of the county (Powellsville) meant too much travel for some of the students.

That comment was part of Richardson’s presentation to the board on June 9. Board member Emma Johnson had asked Richardson what her dream was and Richardson said it was to open Askewville for More At Four.

The director also said there was a possibility of moving the Even Start Program and the Head Start Program to Askewville, but Todd said no decisions have been reached as to where those programs will be housed for the next school year.

Board member Al Parker told Richardson at the time he was supportive of opening the Askewville site.

“I like the idea,” he said. “I commend you for your planning. We have the facility sitting there, we might as well use it.”

With both sites open for the 2008-09 academic year, students will be able to attend the preschool program that is closest to them, according to Todd, who also stressed that all four year old students would now be able to attend because of the two facilities being in operation.

He also said he believed the opening of the facility would be beneficial to the Askewville community.

“I think it will be outstanding for the Askewville community to have that school open and operating,” he said. “The school is a core part of the community and I think it will be great for them to see students back in that facility.”

Questions about the expansion of the More At Four program and the opening of the site can be directed to Richardson by calling 794-3173.