District Departments » Curriculum & Instruction Department » Early Childhood

Early Childhood


Age Eligibility

Children must be four (4) years of age by August 15th to attend our Pre-K programs for that upcoming school year.

Types of Pre-K Programs

The district offers a variety of pre-k program options:
  • Pre-K classes are offered Monday – Friday between 8:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. Classes follow the Kingsport City Schools calendar, but please note that transportation is not provided. Current Pre-K locations (subject to change) include Palmer Early Learning Center, Jackson Elementary, Jefferson Elementary, Johnson Elementary, Kennedy Elementary, and Lincoln Elementary.
  • HeadStart Collaboration classes at V.O. Dobbins (4 classes).
  • Special Education Partner programs at the Palmer Center, Johnson Elementary, Jackson Elementary, and Lincoln Elementary for students who are eligible for special education services beginning at age three (3).
  • Special Education 3-year-old programs at the Palmer Center.

Income Eligibility

Children who qualify as economically disadvantaged per the Income Eligibility Application below and income guidelines set by the Federal Department of Health and Human Services have priority for placement into our Pre-K programs.  
For more information or to make an appointment for Pre-K Screening, place contact the Palmer Early Learning Center at (423) 378.2160.

Pre-K Placement Guidelines

Pursuant to TCA 49-6-101, at-risk children, those identified as economically disadvantaged, must be enrolled before any other children in Voluntary Pre-K class settings.  Kingsport City Schools adheres to the requirement as stated, which requires the LEA to maximize the enrollment of the at-risk child but to also serve the under-served child, as space permits. 
  • Pre-K screening is announced via several communication outlets (i.e. newspaper, website, social media channels including Facebook and Twitter, printed posting using screening flyers at school sites and in the community) and is usually held in March.  Placements are only made to students who qualify based on income guidelines and live in the city as a resident of Kingsport.
  • Students that qualify based on income guidelines are given first priority for placement per state guidelines. 
  • Students that qualify based on income will be placed by zoned school according to confirmed residence, provided the zoned school has a Pre-K class.  If there isn’t a Pre-K class at the zoned school, the students are provided the nearest location to the extent possible.
  • Once screened, families of students that qualify are informed of a registration date by letter.  The registration is conducted to ensure that families submit all required enrollment documentation, as well as to orient the parent to the fundamental requirements for participation in the program. 
  • When all students are placed that qualified financially, the next priority for placement is screening score.  Students that did not qualify financially will be placed based on lowest score, when spots are available, at the closest zoned school.
  • If the wait list is exhausted with placements for income and screening score and an opening arises in a classroom, this opening will be filled from the wait list based on income and location (i.e. opening at Johnson, student with lowest income will be placed from the wait list with a Johnson-zoned residence).
Note:  All students screened that are not income qualified will be placed on the waiting list.  The coordinator determines income eligibility and sorts students by income qualification first, then by screening score if student doesn’t qualify.   
If a parent requests a specific program or location at the screening, it must be in writing and there is no guarantee of placement.  We will look at each request and consider it on its individual merits.  The director will decide if the request can be honored, only after income-based placements are made.

KCS Pre-k Eligibility and Enrollment Forms

The Journey to School Readiness Resources

KCS Kindergarten Readiness Information

Take a look at our Kingsport City Schools Kindergarten Readiness... Ready. Set. Go! booklet by clicking here

Pre-K Available Locations

Suzanne Lewis, Coordinator of Early Childhood Programs
Ph: (423) 378.2160
  • Palmer Center
  • V.O. Dobbins Community Center
  • Jackson Elementary School
  • Jefferson Elementary School
  • Johnson Elementary School
  • Kennedy Elementary School
  • Lincoln Elementary School
Contact Us!
Palmer Early Learning Center
1609 Ft. Henry Drive
Kingsport, TN 37664
Ph: (423) 378.2160
Fax: (423) 378.2173