Pre-School Expansion in District 205

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ROCKFORD (WIFR) – The future of the Rockford Public School District is in the hands of babies. Educators want to provide pre-school to all youngsters and the expansion will help provide kids with skills to achieve. In tonight’s “Classroom Victories” report, 23 News Education Reporter, Lauren Kravets explains how this plan is growing both in numbers of kids and in success.

More than 2,600 3-5 year-olds have fun and learn at pre-school in District 205.

Chloe is one of those kids.; She goes to Summerdale Early Childhood Center. Chloe’s mom loves the center just as much as her daughter.
“Everyone here really encourages excitement, love of learning, when she comes home she tells me about friends or different experiences she’s had,” said District 205 parent, Gina Beaver.

There are some new experiences including a media center with computers, audio centers and new this year, smart tables at all three early childhood centers. Kids get to interact with the table and work on skills like vocabulary and taking turns.

The District is trying to give more kids a turn at pre-school. They added more than 400 seats for a total of more than 2,800 seats as well as 10 extra classrooms. Some of those are at Dennis, which re-opened for collaboration with Rockford HeadStart.

“Some of the students coming in from Head Start had lower achievement rates overall so what we wanted to do is collaborate to bring the strengths of both programs together to improve student outcomes,” said Executive Director of Early Childhood Education in District 205, Kim Nelson.

The schools are also getting help from the United Way of Rock River Valley. The agency is trying to improve skills at the Pre-K level, through reading programs where all students get their own books to take home.

“There’s research out there that shows children who have their own library do better long term in reading as they go through school,” Nelson said.

Over the next few years, the district hopes to provide professional development training to private pre-school providers, since many of those kids will end up in Rockford Public Schools.

“We want to make sure we can strengthen and support the entire system,” said Nelson.

The school district also works with local agencies like the Winnebago County Health Department for birth to three-year old home visiting programs. There is now a coordinated intake system where anyone can make a referral to the health department if they need home visiting services for their child.

For parents who want to put their kids in preschool, preschool screening and placement in District 205, please call 815-227-8466.

Tomorrow, on “Classroom Victories” we’ll head to middle schools where there are more electives which makes students want to come to school. We’ll take you inside and show you what kids are doing.

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