On Monday trustees of Goshen Community Schools voted wisely to extend the corporation’s reach and begin an early childhood program this coming school year. The program will likely consist of half-day classes four days a week for approximately 70 pre-kindergarten students. Class sizes of about 17 students have been recommended.
Tamara Ummel, the executive director of Elementary Education for Goshen Community Schools, presented the program outline to trustees, which included its vision and philosophy. Points of emphasis for the new program are:
• Maintaining high expectations for young learners
• Using research-based practices
• Emphasizing developmentally appropriate activities
• Embracing parents as partners
• Fostering a network of support for the education of young children within the community.
If we are serious about improving public education, we have to know where to look. Early childhood education is one of those places. There is an old saying that, “Practice doesn’t make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect.” If school corporations and educators are to be held accountable for the success or failure of their students, it makes sense for them to get their hands on these students as early as possible.
The gap between students’ educational development can be substantial. This new program — as well as established private pre-schools and the national Head Start program — can go a long way toward narrowing some of those gaps. Therefore, at a reasonable annual cost of $183,500, we feel this new program is an exciting and worthwhile effort by a school corporation we continue to be proud of.
We would be remiss if we didn’t heap some praise on Fairfield Community Schools and Middlebury Community Schools for those two corporations’ recent recognition from the Indiana Department of Education.
Those high schools — Fairfield and Northridge — are two of 37 across the state honored for successful efforts to increase student participation and pass rates in Advanced Placement classes. Those are essentially college-level courses that high achieving students take while they are still in high school.
Congratulations to the students, staff and parents at Fairfield and Northridge high schools for this wonderful accomplishment. It’s great to see so much hard work rewarded.