Janesville49.9°

District gets to work on creating 4K program

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FRANK J. SCHULTZ
January 3, 2008
— The Janesville School District administration is wasting no time in getting its newly approved program for 4-year-olds ready for its September debut.

Superintendent Tom Evert announced in a Dec. 28 memo to the school board that he wants to hire a program coordinator “right away” in the new year.


Evert will seek board approval for the hiring at Tuesday’s school board meeting. The money would come from “contingency funds,” he said in the memo.


The program is called Preschool 4 Janesville, or P4J. The school board approved it on a 6-3 vote Dec. 10.


The new coordinator will have much to coordinate.


The program offers a preschool opportunity—often referred to as 4-year-old kindergarten—for any family that wants it. Participation is voluntary.


The program will involve existing preschool providers who agree to join, but the district would set up its own sites if community sites are insufficient.


The program would include a common curriculum and certified teachers. Teachers could be employed by a private preschool or by the school district.


The 4-year-olds will attend the program will last 2-1/2 hours a day, four days a week.


Parents will be able to choose the site they believe is best for their child. Religion-based preschools may participate, although they must refrain from teaching religion during the 2-1/2 hours.


Many—including some presidential candidates—see high-quality preschool as a solution to societal problems. The theory goes that giving all children the same opportunity early in life will pay off in the long run with more productive citizens, economic growth and fewer dropouts, truancy, behavior problems and crime.


Critics—including some board members—questioned whether the program would draw the children who could benefit from it the most.


“The administration pledges to do all possible to make it work,” Evert wrote in his memo.



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