ILION — Central Valley School will conduct a meeting for parents of current Central Valley pre-kindergarten students at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 15, in the Central Valley Academy large group instruction room.
The meeting will share the latest information on the district’s plan to offer existing and new students the opportunity for an extended, full-day pre-kindergarten program targeted to begin on Monday, Jan. 27.
The agenda will include the reasons behind the change, explanation of the state grant that funds the program and the state’s requirements and expectations for the program, a look at anticipated changes in the school day, curriculum and transportation and a question and answer period.
“We were pleased to learn on Dec. 18 that Central Valley had been tentatively awarded a New York State Department of Education Full-day Pre-kindergarten and Expanded Half-day Pre-kindergarten Grant. We received official notice on Dec. 23,” said Assistant Superintendent Cindy Stocker in a news release.
“This highly competitive grant is designed to provide students in economically depressed communities a greater opportunity to compete academically with students who live in more affluent communities,” Stocker added.
The extended day will expose students to developmental and academic skills needed to be successful in school and beyond.
“The current half-day pre-kindergarten program does not allow us the time to thoroughly address these critical skills,” said Stocker.
In its regular meetings, the Central Valley Board of Education has repeatedly stressed the need to improve student performance and opportunities. Board members recognize the many socio-economic challenges to achieving that goal, but stress the need to step beyond the obstacles and find solutions. The move to a full-day pre-kindergarten program is consistent with that goal.
“A business-as-usual approach will not get our children where they need to be. We have to do something that begins to tip the odds in favor of these students. You have to start young to make a difference,” said Stocker.
She acknowledges the timeframe from learning the district had won the grant to implementing the program is short, leaving students and their families with little time to adjust.
“This represents a sudden change and change can be difficult for all of us. We understand that a full-day program may disrupt family schedules or daycare arrangements,” said Stocker. “However, Central Valley is obligated to make decisions that are best for kids. And this move to full-day will better prepare these students for school and life. It is best for kids. We look forward to this exciting, new educational opportunity.”