FCPS Rolls Out First ‘Classroom on Wheels’ Preschool Bus
Fayette County Public Schools (FCPS) has launched its first mobile preschool classrooms for the community. The “Classroom on Wheels” bus made its debut outside the John D. Price Administration Building three weeks after the district announced a renewed plan to increase awareness and engagement in early learning and kindergarten readiness. The purple bus then took its first voyage to Lexington Public Library’s Northside branch for story time with preschoolers.
Two buses will be on the road by the end of February, allowing Pre-K education opportunities to stretch into every Lexington neighborhood. Part of the district’s Early Childhood Community Learning Plan, the Classroom on Wheels buses are equipped with dedicated teachers and hands-on learning resources to promote engaging experiences for children to read, talk, and play to prepare for kindergarten.
In the 2021-22 school year, kindergarten readiness scores in Fayette County fell to their lowest levels (42%) since scores were first tracked in 2013-14, meaning fewer than half of all screened incoming kindergarteners met readiness-to-learn standards based on adaptive, cognitive, motor, communication, and social-emotional skills. The district hopes these mobile classrooms will allow more of our littlest learners to access the critical early learning they need to succeed in school and throughout life.
During the Feb. 6 news conference, Superintendent Demetrus Liggins reiterated the district’s goal of 100% kindergarten readiness by 2027. “We know our incoming students need and deserve a stronger and more prepared start for their academic careers, and our goal is not only bold, but it is necessary,” he said. “There is also a misunderstanding that this initiative is just about our earliest learners, but one of the things that we have found is that students who are coming to us not prepared for kindergarten are also the same students that are creating an achievement gap and are part of the graduation gap when students are older.”
Whitney Stevenson, director of Early Childhood Education, says the buses will come with the same resources found in local preschool classrooms. “There are activities and materials, and we have certified teaching staff with early childhood credentials on the buses, so really and truly we’re taking that experience and putting it on a bus so our team can read, talk, and play with more children and families,” she said.
The district is seeking secure parks and neighborhood areas that have access to restrooms and outdoor spaces to complement the classrooms, with Cardinal Valley and downtown locations under consideration for the initial weekly programming. The bus programs will run three days per week, focusing on regular learning opportunities with children transitioning into kindergarten, with plans to build on that programming this fall. On other days, FCPS will take the buses to various outreach events like library story times, specifically targeting babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. Stevenson said families would be able to find Classroom on Wheels information on a dedicated website soon to launch. Until then, families can follow the First 5 Lex Facebook page for updates.
“The buses are truly a game-changer for supporting families and young children,” Stevenson said.
Posted Feb. 6, 2023