PreK enrollment ongoing

Director of Early Childhood Beatris Mata talks about preK enrollment in ECISD. (Ruth Campbell|Odessa American)

Ector County ISD parents can now enroll their children in preK.

Children have to be 3 or 4 by Sept. 1 of the coming school year.

Carver and Lamar early childhood centers and Austin Montessori offer preK for 3- and 4-year-olds, but the emphasis is on the Odessa YMCA for preK for 3-year-olds, Director of Early Childhood Education Beatris Mata said.

Mata said preK enrollment lasts until the last day of school.

The district also plans to repurpose Burleson Elementary School as a preK center in the 2024-25 school year.

Mata added that Lamar and Carver have been very successful models so they are excited to have Burleson join them as the same type of model.

While Burleson is being repurposed and renovated, students will attend San Jacinto and Noel elementary schools for the 2024-25 school year.

Kindergarten readiness has increased from 35 percent in 2019 to now 66 percent.

“We’re really proud of those results and it just proves that our teachers are doing such great work in our classrooms and our leadership is really helping to support that. We feel really confident that these percentages are just going to continue to go up as they have been each year. We feel like it’s been very successful and we would love to have more students enroll into our program,” Mata said.

There are currently 393 students enrolled in preK 3 and 1,532 in preK 4.

“We always strive to have more students enroll each year, and we usually do a pretty good job of doing that. It’s just building that momentum again, getting out there into the community in any way (and) just letting our families know that it’s available. I think a lot of it is having to do with data and … how we’re doing currently in preK. I think it helps families feel more confident putting their children into our preK program,” Mata said.

Parents may register on the Ector County ISD website,

“Every preK in our district has been trained in the enrollment process so we feel really confident that if our families go into a campus to get assistance then they will get assistance. Something that I would recommend for families to do is to go in and see what campus their child is zoned for. They can do that on our website as well because it gives them an idea of where their child is going to go to school. But they can truly just go to any campus and they will assist them because you’re enrolling into the district, not necessarily that campus at that time and that’s another step,” Mata said.

If families have trouble enrolling online, they can call their campus, the admissions office or the Early Childhood department and they are available to help. Call 432-456-5458 for Early Childhood. The district’s main number is 432-456-0000.

Numerous studies show that preK helps to increase a child’s school readiness in kindergarten and beyond, Mata said.

In his April 10 media call, Superintendent Scott Muri said the district has been offering preK for several years.

“The best reason that we’ve found is because of their continued success. We have an incredible set of data that indicate that students that go through the ECISD preK experience outperform their peers in kindergarten, first grade, second grade. Then next year it will continue in third grade as we continue to monitor those kids as they transition into the upper grade levels. But we know that kids begin kindergarten at a much higher level because of their preK experience,” Muri said.

Mata noted that children are learning socialization and being exposed to different subject areas like math, science and social studies.

“They’re learning how to write. They’re learning how to just do the most basic skills such as opening the door, closing the door, using scissors …,” Mata said.

She added that with these skills they can go into kindergarten more confident and their adjustment period isn’t as long. It also helps kids with social and emotional skills.

Students who don’t attend a preK program prior to kindergarten need more adjustment time because kindergarten is a whole new world.