Pre-K Initiative


Pre-k benefits children, their families, and their communities. From improved academic outcomes to the economic savings to schools and states, the benefits of high-quality pre-k are irrefutable.

Successful Students

• Pre-k increases high school graduation rates.

• Pre-k helps children do better on standardized tests.

• Pre-k reduces grade repetition.

• Pre-k reduces the number of children placed in special education.

Responsible Adults

• Pre-k reduces crime and delinquency.

• Pre-k lowers rates of teen pregnancy.

• Pre-k leads to greater employment and higher wages as adults

• Pre-k contributes to more stable families.

• Every $1 invested in high-quality pre-k saves taxpayers up to $7.


While Alabama receives a #1 quality ranking from the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) for the state-funded First Class pre-k program, Alabama ranks a disappointing 33rd in the nation for pre-k access, serving just 6% of four-year-olds in Alabama in First Class Pre-K.

During his October 3, 2005 inaugural address, Mayor Walt Maddox established the core belief that all academically at-risk four-year old children deserve the opportunity for a highly effective pre-k education. Within weeks of taking the oath of office, Mayor Maddox and the City Council (Council) established the Pre-K Task Force (Task Force) representing stakeholders from across the community to investigate the feasibility of turning this belief into reality. The Task Force was co-chaired by Mayor Maddox, Shelley Jones, former Tuscaloosa City School Board Chair, Stephen Black, Director for the Initiative for Ethics and Social Responsibility at the University of Alabama and Earnestine Tucker, current Tuscaloosa City School Board Member.

After months of research, it was determined that too many of Tuscaloosa’s children were academically at-risk and not receiving effective early intervention. Under the leadership of Dr. Joyce Levey, and the Tuscaloosa City School Board, it was clear that the Tuscaloosa City Schools System (System) had pioneered a very effective pre-k program with limited funding. By expanding and enhancing the System’s pre-k program, the Task Force determined that Tuscaloosa could have a level playing field for all children.

The Task Force has now evolved into the Tuscaloosa Pre-K Initiative. This advisory board is composed of delegates from the City of Tuscaloosa, Tuscaloosa City Schools, University of Alabama, Stillman College, Congressman Artur Davis’ Office, private citizens and several community agencies and associations which will ensure the long-term goal that all children academically at-risk will have the opportunity for a quality pre-k education

Presently, more than 250 at-risk preschool students are being served by the Tuscaloosa City Schools Pre-K program, while additional children are being served by other Pre-K providers (Head Starts, private day cares, etc.). Currently the Tuscaloosa Pre-K Initiative consists of 21 Pre-K classroom units across nine Tuscaloosa City elementary schools. Thanks to the Task Force, the expansion and enhancing has already begun.

To learn more about Pre-K in the State of Alabama please visit To learn more about supporting Pre-K in the City of Tuscaloosa please visit the City Board of Education at


The Tuscaloosa City Schools accepts applications for the Pre-Kindergarten program each spring. Applications for Pre-K classes are available to all students who are four (4) years old on or before September 2 and live in the Tuscaloosa City Schools zone. Students who meet the school system’s definition of academically at-risk will be given first priority for Pre-K enrollment. Academically at-risk status is determined by the administration of the Developmental Indicators for the Assessment of Learning – 3rd Ed. (DIAL-3) by school system personnel prior to the opening of school. Students who score below the 50th percentile in either Language or Concepts are considered at-risk and will be given first priority for Pre-K enrollment.

Selected schools operate a full-day session beginning at 8 a.m. and ending at 2:45 p.m. Monday-Friday. Applications are available at all elementary schools and the Tuscaloosa City Board of Education, 1210 21st Avenue, Tuscaloosa, All 35401


More information will be available soon

Online registration opens the end of January.
Online registration closes at 5 p.m. Wednesday, April 26.
The Tuscaloosa Amp box office registration closes at 5 pm Thursday, April 27.
Registration will be available at Government Plaza (at packet pick up) Friday, April 28 (11 a.m.-7 p.m.) and race morning 7-7:45 a.m.

Register Today