The Steuben Courier Advocate
  • O-M pre-kindergarten will expand to full day

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  • ODESSA | A grant from the state Department of Education will allow the Odessa-Montour Central School District to expand its pre-Kindergarten program to from a half-day to the full day, district officials said Friday.
    The Priority Full-day Pre-Kindergarten and Expanded Half-day Pre-Kindergarten Grant will mean approximately $185,000 in extra funding for the district's program in this school year and next.
    "As standards are raised, we see the greatest gains in early childhood education," Odessa-Montour Superintendent James Frame said in a statement. "We're extremely pleased to be able to provide this opportunity to young children in our community, who we know will see the benefits of this experience from kindergarten through their senior year."
    B.C. Cate Elementary Principal Veronica Lewis said the expanded pre-K program is part of the district's drive to make sure students are ready for kindergarten and beyond.
    "We thought if we could expand their day and their curriculum, we could better prepare them for what will be expected," Lewis said.
    District officials said the expansion will allow for new activities such as inquiry-based learning, fine motor skills development, additional math instruction, technology, arts enrichment and more.
    Lewis said another important part of the grant is the collaboration it allows with Schuyler Head Start.
    A portion of the grant will be used to fund 10 students current attending the Head Start program. That may potentially create additional openings in the program in the next school year.
    The grant will also allow the district to provide transportation for Head Start students who live in the district.
    "We've never transported Head Start students before," Lewis said.
    She said parents of Head Start students have often had to organize elaborate car pools and other arrangements to make sure their kids get to school.
    Money from the grant will also be allocated to aid in joint professional development for Odessa-Montour and Head Start staff.
    Odessa-Montour was among 27 districts statewide awarded a grant through a competitive process.
    Lewis said now that all current pre-K parents have signed on for the full-day program, she's hoping to begin Feb. 3, though that date could change.
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