PCS approves funding, plan for HIPPY program

Published 8:38 pm Monday, October 11, 2010

Pike County School board members approved a non-profit organization to run a preschool teaching program throughout Troy City and Pike County Schools at their meeting Monday.

The Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters Initiative, or HIPPY Initiative, will prepare 60 local children, all 4 years old and younger, for their first year in school.

At the meeting, board members decided that HIPPY will be managed by the Troy-Pike Early Learning Foundation Inc., a non-profit designed specifically to provide grant funding for HIPPY.

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Troy City and Pike County Schools have each designated $50,000 for the program, Pike County Superintendent Mark Bazzell said after the board meeting.

The Troy-Pike Early Learning Foundation, comprised of personnel from Troy University, the Department of Human Resources, the Child Advocacy Center and other interested groups, are overseeing the training of six parent teachers who will then train other parents to teach their youngsters kindergarten fundamentals.

Through HIPPY and the early learning foundation, children can enter kindergarten with some basic teaching and won’t have to struggle among their peers. As a rule, all of the parent teachers have a preschooler of their own.

“Preschool education is something we’ve been trying to get going in Pike County for some time,” Bazzell said. “Within the next few weeks, they’ll be identifying the 4-year-olds we need to be meeting, and then they’ll be out in full force.”

Board members also approved the hiring of a new educator for kindergarten classes, where student numbers are creeping over the class limit. Bazzell recommended the appointment of a substitute until the Christmas break, to ease the kindergarteners into the transition.

“I think that might be the best and smoothest for the kids,” he said.

Also, Southland International, a school bus contractor, was awarded the bid for the purchase of two school buses, each worth $71,640. In a related item, board members decided to recognize October 18-22 as Alabama School Bus Safety Week.

Members also accepted the resignation of Karen Berry, who was the administrative assistant in the special education department. She has worked in the Pike County School system for 36 years.