Bouquets of sharpened number two pencils and colorful walls of carefully crafted words of inspiration filled the pre-K classrooms at Leeds Elementary School (LES) as these first time students began their official learning careers.
Leading the way on this new adventure is LES Assistant Principal Lisa Shaddix who secured two grants essential in establishing LES’s pre-K program.
“We are preparing these students for a public school setting,” said Shaddix. “Parents of our pre-k children have also had orientation to introduce them to the classroom and we will host ongoing parent workshops.”
Amy Terry, Director of Student Services/Personnel for Leeds City Schools, wrote an all-inclusive grant to enable the newly launched program to provide a proper classroom setting for students with special needs.
Pre-K students can arrive as early as 7:30 a.m. with dismissal at 2 p.m.
Honored to have the titles of the first pre-K teachers for Leeds City Schools are Tori Kennedy, Ashley Isbell and Collette Pledger.
Also on the team making sure everyone has what they need are auxiliary teachers Camille Garrison, Karen Kelly and Whitney Preg.
Encouraging these young minds to strive to be anything they want to be, inspiring quotes such as “individuality makes us interesting,” adorned Mrs. Pledger’s wall.
In Collette Pledger’s pre-K class friends Dylan Fambrough and Brady Smith were beyond excited to be in the same class.
When Dylan entered the classroom his former Valley View daycare pal Brady was greeted with a big four-year-old pre-K hug.
“We’re very excited they’re in the same class together,” said Dylan’s mom Kim Bishop. “We look forward to them learning and for them to be well prepared.”
“It’s an exciting time as they are being introduced to big kid’s school,” added Brady’s mom Lora Smith.
Down the hall in Ashley Isbell’s class she has a 50/50 ratio of special needs and general education students.
“This class is all inclusive,” said Isbell. “We’re focusing on social skills, imaginative play and expanding our language skills.”
Across the way, Tori Kennedy, entering her first year teaching in a public school (she previously taught pre-k at churches and day cares) says she has attained a life long goal in landing this position.
“This is my dream job,” she said. 
Implementing etiquette in her classroom, Kennedy displayed a poster that read, “Teaching to respect all teachers, school staff, students and our school.”
Working within the realms of a tight budget, these pre-K teachers could still use supplies. 
If individuals, businesses or anyone you know would like to donate supplies to LES’s pre-K teachers they are still in need of any kind of paper (construction, copy…), liquid glue/glue sticks, crayons, hand sanitizer, colored pencils, jumbo pencils, scissors, Clorox wipes, water colors, Play Dough, old or pretend phones and the list goes on. 
Greeting each other with the “Morning Song,” several pre-K students will be singing, “Good morning to you. We’re all in our places with bright smiling faces.”
Eager to teach these youngsters how to be effective community helpers and smart students this pre-K team is thrilled to continue on the Leeds City Schools mission of “promoting achievement, respect and success.”
To donate supplies to the pre-K program, call the school at 205-699-4500 for more details.

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