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FOCUSED on PreK with Jen Allred: Creating Links and a Positive Community

Jen Allred at EES

With a new FOCUSED tour of PreK-12 education sites and subjects in the district, a visit to a PreK classroom shows where it all begins for our youngest learners and community builders. On September 14, Superintendent Dr. Nyah Hamlett visited the playground at Ephesus Elementary School to talk to veteran PreK Teacher, Jennifer Allred – known by her students and families as Miss Jen.

As the children played, Allred described the primary goals she and other CHCCS PreK teachers have for their students. “We help them develop their Growth Mindset and focus on rules and routines to help prepare them for kindergarten. Our biggest goal is getting kids to feel safe at school and become confident learners,” she said. “For some of these children, it’s the first time being part of a group. We do a lot of SEL work, identifying our feelings, learning how to be curious – and how to be independent and interdependent. We’re really teaching them how to be a positive community.”

Jen Allred and Dr. H

Dr. Hamlett asked Allred to name a few favorite aspects of her job, especially as a veteran educator of more than 20 years. “I love to see the kids as they grow and mature through the years,” Allred said. “Some of our families, I’ve taught four or five children!” She’s now forming second generation connections. “One of the current PreK dads I taught, and he was one of my favorite students. I still have a Polaroid of him with me on the last day of school.” 

Currently, 240 children are enrolled in PreK programs at the nine elementary school sites. The capacity is limited by facilities space, but Dr. Hamlett said, “I have a vision, hopes and dreams for PreK program expansion that underscores the importance of PreK education irrespective of children’s socio-economic backgrounds, as it sets the stage for future learning, social emotional development, school readiness, and helps to close achievement and opportunity gaps early.” 

To see the FOCUSED video with Dr. Hamlett and Miss Jen and her PreK super stars, click here.

CHCCS District Headlines stories are written on a regular basis by the CHCCS Division of Communications, with assistance from a network of school-based “storytellers” who share tips and ideas throughout the school year. The goal is to share real-world examples of the CHCCS Strategic Plan in action. Know about a story worth telling from your school? Contact the CHCCS Communications team at  

EES PreK girls.