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Westside Elementary adds pre-K unit

Westside Elementary School will be receiving a Pre-K grant to help with early childhood education. This will be the first year for this particular grant and the school will be given $120,000 for classroom supplies.

The grant is an OSR meaning it is an Officer School Readiness grant. It is a Pre-K grant that will take care of four year olds in the program, pay for a lead teacher and an auxiliary teacher. It will also allow for up to eighteen children in a classroom, pay the salaries for both teachers, as well as funds to purchase equipment and furniture for the classrooms.

The school already has one Pre-K classroom and will be gaining another with the help of the grant. Sixty-eight students have been registered for the classes, but the school only received one of the two rooms it had applied for. As a result, only 36 of the sixty-eight students will be chosen for the two classes.

Westside principal Rashanda Jackson is optimistic about the new Pre-K grant.

“I am very excited. I’ve already found a space for them. We will have a classroom and a playroom. OSR really wants our kids at four to learn through play. And I am excited that we can get more students in which will get them ready for Kindergarten.”

The program allows young children to get early exposure to a classroom atmosphere.

“They will get that chance to develop socially and emotionally. What I’ve noticed is during our Kindergarten pre-registration, we had some kids to come in that have never stepped foot into a class or a structured school.” Jackson said. “But this gives this additional eighteen kids an opportunity to be at a school and have some structure and to get used to being in a class with other kids and learning how to get along socially.”

There are certain standards that teachers will have to teach. They will have to teach language and literacy, math, science, environmental education and even technology. Many people assume the program is just babysitting, but it is not. Children are actually being taught and are expected to meet the program’s standards.