McKINNEY – Each day, the staff at Lawson Early Childhood School guide their young students on a journey of learning and discovery. Now, with a $5,632 Good Neighbor Citizenship Grant from State Farm, they want to help some of their students’ parents on a different part of the journey -- the one to and from school.

“We have a large number of children that ride to school each day unsecured in cars or not using car seats correctly,” said Lawson nurse Jean Begala, who worked with grant writer Danny Ledbetter to secure the grant.

The staff of Lawson, which is home to McKinney ISD’s Early Head Start, Head Start, PPCD and Pre-K programs, know the importance of keeping kids safe in the car. Students who travel there by bus are always buckled in, and depending on need, some utilize an additional safety harness.

Due to their age, all Lawson students who are dropped off by parents should be riding in child booster seats. When they are not, it is often due to financial issues or simply a lack of awareness on the part of the parent. The State Farm grant gives Lawson the means to help on both fronts.

“The money will go toward buying car seats and holding events in conjunction with Safe Kids and Children’s hospital to raise awareness of the importance of using child booster seats as well as using seat belts,” said Begala.

“As part of the national Safe Kids program, free car seats are given to those who qualify,” she said.

Principal Paige Hanks said that she is thrilled that Lawson is able to provide access to child safety seats for their families who may not be able to afford them, noting that child safety and student success are part of the same journey.

“When students are safe, they can learn, and we are working hard at Lawson to help each of our students be prepared for a life of successful learning and participation in our community,” she said.

“Our staff has worked hard to create a safe environment, and this grant enhances school safety in a new way and provides a bridge between home and school.”

For additional news and information on Lawson Early Childhood School, visit

For additional information on McKinney ISD, contact Shane Mauldin, MISD Communications Specialist, at 469-302-4007 or


About McKinney ISD

One of the fastest growing school districts in Texas, the McKinney Independent School District currently enrolls more than 24,000 students in 20 elementary schools, five middle schools, three high schools, one alternative school and one early childhood education school. The mission of McKinney ISD, the champion for progressive learning throughout the diverse McKinney community, is to inspire and equip all students to explore, develop and express their unique potential as innovators, critical thinkers and collaborators through challenging, engaging and diverse learning experiences in vital partnership with the community. Visit the district's website at