Kokomo School Corp. will expand its preschool program next school year, offering tuition-free half-day programs at Boulevard, Pettit Park and Elwood Haynes elementary schools.
The 2013-14 school year marked the first time Kokomo Schools offered a full preschool program, serving about 200 children with its full-day and half-day options. The corporation also houses the federally-funded Howard County Head Start program at Darrough Chapel Early Learning Center, which provides another 316 preschool slots.
The board of education unanimously granted its approval Monday evening of adding a half-day preschool site at Boulevard Elementary School.
“While preschool is being debated at the state level, Kokomo Schools is moving forward with a concerted effort to do everything within its limited capacity to offer preschool to the students of our community,” said Superintendent Jeff Hauswald. “Leading researchers continue to espouse the value of early childhood education. Moreover, nearly 15 years of data from early childhood programs inside Kokomo Schools shows increased academic performance throughout the K-12 experience and, as importantly, increased graduation rates.”
Dorothea Irwin, director of elementary education and special programs, is excited to expand Kokomo’s preschool program, which started at Elwood Haynes in January 2012 and grew to Lafayette Park and Pettit Park in August 2013.
“Each of our sites … offers something unique to our children,” Irwin said. “All preschool students are immersed in a world of inquiry and exploration as they discover the wonder of learning. Opening a.m. and p.m. preschool programs at Boulevard simply allows Kokomo Schools to serve more children.”
In other business
Also at Monday’s meeting, the board approved additional changes to the 2013-14 school calendar to include make-up days. At its February meeting, the board voted in favor of holding class on President’s Day, Feb. 17, and Good Friday, April 18, to compensate for days missed due to inclement weather. In all, Kokomo Schools lost 10 instructional days this winter.