District 203 Expanding Preschool Services

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Four full day pre-k classes are just one of the added early childhood services the District 203 board approved at its latest meeting.

The board passed the full day community preschool tuition rate of $490 per month, which comes after the district was awarded three competitive early childhood grants.

“The additional funds that we have received allow us to expand our services in three key areas. We’re going to be opening two additional half-day sessions at Ann Reid, which allows us to serve approximately 30-35 additional students. We’re going to expand the number of children and families we serve in our birth-3 home visiting program to 140. And finally we’ll be opening our four, full day early childhood classrooms, which will service approximately 65-70 students,” explained Dr. Christine Igoe, the assistant superintendent for student services.

The funds will also help ensure every child between birth to five years old receives high quality learning experiences, particularly those who are at-risk or in special education.

The full day classes will begin on September 4.

The board also heard an update about the Multi-Tiered System of Support, or MTSS.

The district has worked toward developing MTSS since 2016, as a system that ensures student growth.

“At some point in time all students need additional time and targeted instruction, or intervention, to meet academic or social-emotional learning standards. At some point in time as well, students are in a situation where they need more academic challenge or extensions for learning,” said Chief Academic Officer Dr. Jennifer Hester.

But as presenters Jennifer Hester and Jayne Willard explained, to best use MTSS more dedicated time is needed in the instructional school day.

They recommended that the administration add that time in for teachers to provide intervention and to extend learning.

Also of note at the meeting, the board work shopped its tentative budget for the fiscal year 2018-2019.

Superintendent Dan Bridges broke down the budget numbers with some added details board members were happy to see.

“We had a lot of different moving pieces this year as far as repurchasing the bonds and offsetting each other so I really appreciate the numbers that you provided to us tonight,” said Donna Wandke, vice president of the board. “We always feel like we can do more with more [funding] but we also want to be financially responsible. So I think that as we walk that tightrope and try to balance those things I think we worked hard from where this was originally to where it is now and I appreciate that.”

The board will have another budget workshop at the next meeting on September 4.

The board also approved a new three-year contract with the Naperville Education Support Professionals Association, or NESPA. The contract will give 203 union members a salary increase of nearly four percent starting this year.

Naperville News 17’s Christine Lena reports.