NOTES from the Board Of Education
An All Day Pre K Program for 4 Year Olds, a Want or a Need?
2015: In the fall of 2015 the Board of Education held a very well attended Community Engagement. A priority for the school district identified by those patrons and parents attending was a change in the Early Childhood Program to include an all day program for young 5 year olds to help better prepare them for kindergarten. Those present suggested that the school district consider reimplementing the Transitional Kindergarten program that had been very successful and satisfied a need of the district.
2016: District representatives attending a meeting at CNCAP (CNCS at the time) learned that The Office of Head Start was going to make mandatory, an increase in program hours that could result in all day programs beginning in August 2021. The board was told that CNCAP did not have the facility space necessary to conduct all day programs for the children being served in our district. Discussion began on starting an all day program for 4 year olds on the LCPS campus and utilizing space in the existing Primary Building. Before making any changes to the building to accommodate such a program, it was determined that a facility feasibility study needed to be completed. The board recognized the structure as sturdy but was concerned about needed updates and the condition of the building’s infrastructure.
2017-18 and 2018-19 School Years: Board members learned that some district patrons were electing to take their children outside the district to neighboring schools that were offering an all day Pre K program. Individual board members also became aware of studies being conducted on the educational benefits of all day programs for 4 year olds and the success of these programs getting students better prepared for kindergarten. Area districts that have an all day program are reporting wonderful results and recognize the value of an all day Pre K program.
2019: This year, the State of Nebraska is requiring all school districts to test students, grades K - 3, to determine readiness in reading (Nebraska READS initiative) for the grade level they are attending. This initial test must be given during the first 30 days of the school year. LCPS chose to use the aimswebPlus and tested all students in September. The test results indicate that 55% of our current kindergarten students are NOT Kindergarten ready. These students have been identified and will now spend a portion of their kindergarten year getting to where they should have been on the first day of school. Not being at grade level will affect a child’s education level and test scores and will result in the need to play “catch up” from year to year and from grade level to grade level.
The board believes that the children in our school district should be given every opportunity to be successful and that includes being as prepared as possible and at the appropriate grade level the very first day of school.
An all day Pre K program is NOT a WANT of the Board of Education, but is a NEED of our young children for their academic success.
Dollars invested in Early Childhood Education yield the greatest return.