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The North Bend Eagle


 

Board gives go-ahead for 2012 preschool start

by Nathan Arneal
Published 6/6/06

The North Bend Central Board of Education held its monthly meeting at the elementary school because of construction at the high school. Thirty-eight people from North Bend, Morse Bluff and Cedar Bluffs signed in as visitors.

Superintendent Dan Endorf gave an overview of what has happened so far in connection with starting a preschool in the school system going back to July 2010. This was followed by a report from the Preschool Committee.

Elementary principal and committee member Caryn Ziettlow talked about her research that said a child gets academic and social advantage in attending preschool. Students with the preschool experience don’t have as many risks in junior and senior high school. Ziettlow gave reasons for having the preschool in the public school: 1 - everyone can go (cost not a factor); 2 - acclimate the children to the school environment; 3 - students with special needs will be easier to serve with services available in the school setting.

Other members of the preschool committee, Jody Dorcey, Shirley Johnson, Whitney Armstrong, Karen Roubal, and Greg Beebe, added comments about their tour of existing preschools. Dorcey, who has taught in a preschool, spoke about what it would take to get a preschool up and going and how learning is achieved in the preschool setting. There are state requirements that are followed, including one that says one-third of the children’s time must be spent in free play, with learning centers used to have them learn while playing. For example, a block center will give the children to opportunity to build things, with the teacher guiding them with math skills.

“Research shows children learn best this way,” Dorcey said. “The state doesn’t tell what the centers have to be. There are so many options.”

Ziettlow said the committee proposes to have four sections, each meeting two days a week with a teacher and para professional. The instructors will be in on Fridays to make required anecdotal notes on each child, to record their progress and to clean and prepare for the following week. If it is decided to charge for the preschool, it will be on an income-based sliding scale.

Endorf said that NBCPS would not qualify for state aid to fund the preschool. There is a state start-up grant that can be applied for, which is awarded to about half the schools that apply.

Beebe said there are other grants the committee would like to apply for beside the state grant, but first the committee needed approval from the school board to begin the process of planning a preschool.

“My initial feeling was to wait a month to vote on this,” school board president Dan Mensik said. “But there has been a lot of positive comments, with no negative comments, so I say let’s just vote tonight.”

Board member Jeff Peters agreed, saying the committee could get going on grant applications.

Beebe said that a lot of grant applications would ask for hard numbers on expenses and if they had the approval of the board, they could begin figuring out those numbers.

Board member Jeff Bauer questioned if the estimated $68,750 it would take to start a preschool was something the district should spend without more public input. That figure includes playground equipment, rest room, material/curriculum and teacher development.

“Something this big is not something we need to rush into,” Bauer said.
Peters pointed out the packed house attending that evening in support of the preschool and said that a few negative comments would not sway his vote.
Jim Dake moved that the NBCPS Board of Education proceed with plans for a preschool for the 2012 - 2013 school year. The motion was seconded and passed 5-1.

Brent Jackson from Trane presented an update on the summer construction. He started by commending the help from the NBC teachers and the work they did at the end of the school year to give construction a jump start.

Jackson said 29 of 306 pipe fittings covered with asbestos were in poor condition and the asbestos would need to be repaired or removed. Trane does not deal with asbestos, Jackson said, and a contractor to fix this problem may be difficult to hire at this time of year. The board voted to give Endorf permission to have all the asbestos removed while the ceiling was exposed if possible, or just those damaged if a contractor could not be found to do all the work.

Math curriculum will be audited this coming year, as each subject is audited on a rotating basis. Bauer asked how much math has changed. Ziettlow said that in a number of classrooms the math books are falling apart. High school principal Brenda Peterson said that the senior math texts do not meet state standards. This will be a year long process where the high school math teachers meet with the elementary teachers, audit the present curriculum, analyze different math series before presenting it to the board for consideration.

In other business:
• Jim Cody is designing a web site for the school and they will not renew their contract with SOCS for the web site.
• Peterson presented the new state rules that will effect the school and revisions/updates in the student handbook.
• The pay phone will be removed from the front lobby.
• Enrollment numbers were noted. There were 86 students optioning into NBCPS for the coming school year with only 31 optioning out.
• Ziettlow reported that the behavior modification program training has started.
• Peterson reported that the new mural behind the east basket in the high school gym is complete. It required more prep work than expected and the cost will be a little more.

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