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Superintendent News & Views

Crayon Corner & Little Rebels Get an A+

December 17, 2017
David Hill - Gladbrook-Reinbeck Superintendent , Reinbeck Courier

They LOVED us! They gave us an A+. Those two statements are a quick and easy way to summarize the Iowa Department of Education's recent assessment of the 4-year-old preschool programs offered at Crayon Corner and Little Rebels Learning Center, as well as the Early Childhood Special Education classroom at G-R Elementary. Now, a little more detail

As you may be aware, The Gladbrook-Reinbeck Community School District is partnering with Little Rebels Learning Center in Reinbeck and Crayon Corner Learning Center in Gladbrook to offer tuition-free preschool to all qualified 4-year-old students through the Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program. Because this is the program's second year, a team from the Iowa Department of Education recently visited Gladbrook-Reinbeck to conduct an on-site evaluation of the curriculum, the facilities, the policies, the teaching and support staff, and the services offered to determine whether the programs would be recommended for "verified" status moving into the future.

A preschool program must meet or exceed at least 85% of the state-established criteria in order to achieve "verified" status and to continue as part of the Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program. We've just learned that G-R's preschool classrooms have all achieved the "verified" status; furthermore, the Department of Education has informed us that our classrooms meet or exceed 100% - yes, ONE HUNDRED PERCENT - of the required criteria.

Article Photos

This is truly something to celebrate! In laymen's terms, these preschool classrooms not only "passed the test," they earned an "A+." When I served as a principal in another district that went through this same type of evaluation process a few years ago, we also "passed the test" but were required to complete several "corrective action plans" to address certain criteria that were not quite met. When the Department of Education staff visited G-R recently, they told me that it is quite rare for a preschool site visit not to require at least one corrective action plan as a follow-upand that Crayon Corner, Little Rebels and G-R Elementary should be very proud of this accomplishment.

The Department of Education team commended G-R's ECSE classroom as well as the preschools at Crayon Corner and Little Rebels for their strong collaboration with community partners, the caring and devoted teaching staff, and the high-quality professional development offered to staff. They noted the fact that all three teachers not only have the PK General Education endorsement, but also the PK Special Education endorsement as an additional strength of G-R's program. They pointed out exemplary practices in curriculum, family communication and involvement, and promoting positive behavior among students.

Many people deserve credit for this accomplishment. First and foremost, the credit goes to the teachers in our preschool classrooms who work tirelessly each day to provide positive learning experiences for our students. They also had the burden of providing documentation of the criteria observed by the Department of Education team. To Jennifer Smith at Crayon Corner, Lindsey Harbaugh at Little Rebels, and Samantha Formanek at G-R Elementarywe salute your efforts! These teachers are backed and supported by amazing preschool board members, hard-working classroom associates, a dedicated elementary principal, and others who help to provide an environment for learning, growth, and improvement to occur. I appreciate the visionary leaders in each community who originally saw the need for providing comprehensive daycare, before & after school care, and preschool programs and worked together to make our early childhood centers possible.

Gladbrook-Reinbeck recognizes the importance of early childhood education and is committed to providing outstanding early childhood learning experiences. We understand that the youngest citizens in our school district represent the future of G-R, and the future of our communities. The tuition-free preschool programs offered at Crayon Corner and Little Rebels are just one component of the district's commitment to early childhood education.

Both Crayon Corner and Little Rebels also offer quality daycare services, before-and-after-school care, and 3-year-old preschool programs in addition to their outstanding tuition-free programming for 4-year-olds. Within the Gladbrook-Reinbeck elementary building, we also offer special education services for those students who qualify, starting at age 3. Our elementary center is also proud to offer a Transitional Kindergarten class designed for students who meet the age criteria for kindergarten, yet lack the readiness kindergarten requires. For more information on all of these early childhood opportunities, see my blog post from last April entitled, "G-R's Commitment to Early Childhood Education" at tinyurl.com/EarlyChildhoodGR.

I'm proud to be the superintendent in a school district and school community that understands the importance of early childhood learning. City leaders in Gladbrook and Reinbeck, as well as school district leaders and members of the public have invested tremendous public and private resources, along with a great deal of effort and "sweat equity," into the district's early childhood opportunities indicating that they see Crayon Corner, Little Rebels, and the other components our early childhood system to be an investment in the future of our young people, our school district, and our communities. I invite your questions and feedback. Just visit my blog at rebelsupt.blogspot.com/ or follow me on Twitter (my handle is @DavidRobertHill) to get the conversation started.

 
 

 

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