Five-year-old Canon Lindenmeyer had an anticlimactic start to the school year at Walnut Hill Elementary School.
Because he attended the school’s tuition-based pre-K program last school year, Lindenmeyer knew what to expect when he started kindergarten on Aug. 20. There were no tears or “I don’t want to go to school” on the first day; just a happy kid ready to learn and see his friends.
“After attending pre-K through the tuition option last year, he is now so prepared and independent in kindergarten,” said Clarisa Lindenmeyer, Cannon’s mom. “It’s amazing how much your child can grow over the course of a year.”
Lindenmeyer was one of a growing number of students who took advantage of the district’s tuition-based pre-K program that is available for families that don’t qualify for free pre-K. Dallas ISD this school year has 120 students enrolled in tuition-based pre-K, which is more than double the number of students as last year.
Tuition-based pre-K costs $525 per month and is currently offered at about 25 schools. Lindenmeyer and fellow parent Monica Phillips said Dallas ISD pre-K is a great deal, since each class has a high-quality state certified teacher with a teacher assistant, research-based curriculum, and acclimates the child to being in school.
“The teachers have been amazing and the curriculum is fantastic,” Phillips said. “After our experience with pre-K, we didn’t consider for one second going to a different school for kindergarten.”
Before the school started offering tuition pre-K in 2016, Walnut Hill Elementary School Principal Robert Mclaurin had to turn away neighborhood families who didn’t qualify for free pre-K. Now those students have access to two great pre-K programs at schools such as Walnut Hill. The campus offers both a traditional pre-K program and a Two-Way Dual Language Immersion Pre-K program, which puts students on the path toward becoming bilingual and biliterate in English and Spanish. Additionally, all pre-K students at Walnut Hill attend art, music, Mandarin Chinese classes, and much more.
“We now have neighborhood families coming to us in pre-K, seeing the academic excellence and learning options offered in on our schools, and sticking with us instead of going to a private school or charter school,” Mclaurin said. “I look forward to watching the tuition pre-K program continuing to grow in Dallas ISD to benefit many more families.”