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The Road to Expanding Preschool

Fred Patton  
Goal 3: Increasing Capacity in Early Education  
In an effort to make our school district more efficient and effective, both from an educational and fiscal standpoint, in 2006, the Board of Education organized a committee of patrons to review all aspects of our district.  The work of that committee resulted in a long-range strategic plan and facility plan.
Those initial plans led to significant changes throughout our district.  While it is easy to see the improvements to our facilities, we also made substantial advancements in how we educate the students in our classrooms.  As promised, the implementation of those plans resulted in our district being much more fiscally efficient while also being more effective in educating our kids.
One thing we learned from the 2006 planning process is that it is important for our leadership team to have a written plan in place to guide the district’s future.  Board members and administrators come and go, but for our district to continue to move in a positive direction we need to remain focused on implementing a community developed strategy.  
As such, in 2014, we began to create our new action plan.  Board members and administrators went throughout our community, meeting with stakeholders, such as parents, teachers, and taxpayers.  From those meetings, a plan was prepared and presented to the Board of Education for its consideration.  In early 2015, a new district action plan, “2020 Vision - Learning Without Limits,” was adopted.
This new plan helps guide the district’s decision-making process.  Not only do our administrators focus on the strategies set forth in the plan, your Board of Education structures board meetings around the same action plan strategies.
One of the seven primary goals in our current action plan is to “Increase Capacity in Early Childhood Education.”  I am pleased to share with you that the Board of Education took a big step toward implementing our action plan strategy of creating an early childhood center at our March board meeting by voting to expand preschool services and begin construction on Mathes Early Learning Center.  Nearly every piece of research you read on preschool indicates that early childhood education is the best place to target dollars.  Through a collaborative partnership with community stakeholders, this emphasis on early childhood education will enable us to better prepare children in our community for success in school.
As we continue to move forward in expanding early learning, a newly formed task force will advise administration and the board on curriculum, programming, public private partnerships, facility planning, fees, professional learning, etc. This task force will help guide the district as we expand our current preschool services using existing facilities next school year and move all preschool services to Mathes Learning Center for the 2018-19 school year. 
As you can see, community input has been and continues to be an important part of how we make decisions to better serve our kids. As we continue implementing the goals in our community developed district action plan, the Board of Education welcomes your input and suggestions. 
Road to PreK