Groveport Madison considers creating a public preschool


By Rick Palsgrove
Southeast Editor

The Groveport Madison school district is entering the second year of its five year Student Achievement Improvement Plan and the school board is considering proposals to enhance the program.

At a work session March 23, the Groveport Madison Board of Education heard proposals from teachers and administrators throughout the district for student improvement plans that could be implemented in 2016-17. Highlights among the many proposals on a long list for consideration were items such as: adding two more gifted intervention specialists to the gifted program and filling the gifted coordinator role; expanding tutoring in grades 3-9; increasing special education staffing by three at the high school and Middle School North; technology upgrades; and increasing student support services to help students receive more educational and counseling support outside of school to better get on track in the classroom.

A proposal that brought out a debate among the school board members is the possibility of creating a public preschool in the district, which would have an estimated cost of $1.8 million.

The proposed preschool would require: the hiring of six teachers and a preschool coordinator; financing 12 bus routes to bring the kids to and from preschool; and purchasing or leasing modular classrooms possibly to be set up at each of the district’s elementary schools to house the preschool program. The public preschool could offer half day options with morning and afternoon sessions.

District officials  suggested that, instead of modulars, a preschool could be set up in the building located at 2747 Winchester Pike the district currently leases for Cruiser Academy, since Cruiser Academy will be moving to 4400 Marketing Place this summer. However, the Winchester Pike site would have to be remodeled to accommodate preschoolers and a playground would have to be installed.

Board member Bryan Shoemaker said he does not want to see preschoolers in modulars.
Administration officials suggested it’s possible the modulars could be used as classrooms for older elementary age students and then the preschool could be in an existing classroom. However, existing restrooms would then have to be adapted for preschool use.

“We need a preschool, but we’re not ready for it right now,” said Shoemaker. “We’ve got to solve the facility problem first.”

“We’re busting at the seams in grades K-12,” added Board President Libby Gray.

Board member Mary Tedrow would like to see the district proceed with plans to establish a preschool.

“I believe preschool prepares children for school by teaching them to pay attention, take turns,  follow directions, listen to stories, participate in discussions and being exposed to numbers and letters,” said Tedrow.

The board could consider the many proposals to enhance the Student Achievement Improvement Plan as well as the preschool matter further at a future meeting.

About the student achievement plan

In April 2015, the Groveport Madison Board of Education approved an approximately $7 million, five year student achievement plan to address the academic needs of students at all grade levels.

Operating money to fund the plan comes from the levy district voters approved in May 2014.
The plan’s goals are: to make college affordable and accessible for students, to become better partners with teachers to increase student achievement, and to strengthen the community by developing educational results to attract and retain families to the area.The plan implemented 10 new programs this school year:

•Early Learning Initiative – This aims at helping preschool children develop the basic skills needed to enter kindergarten at or above reading levels necessary for long term academic success. It offers parents tools and training to help their kids and includes a digital preschool option.

•Expand K-5 Intervention Services – This program seeks to decrease the number of students in special education intervention by providing additional reading and special education instruction.

•Improve Core Instruction – This program reorganizes and refocuses the school improvement office. It provides teachers and principals with additional training and support to help increase student achievement in areas where students are below comparable district and state levels.

•Middle School Math Acceleration – The program seeks to improve algebra readiness by grade seven.

•Expand Gifted Instruction – This offers support for the highest achievers by providing gifted education programs for grades 3-12.

•College Credit Plus – This is geared to expand college opportunities for students.

•Technology Integration – The plan is to have computers available to each student. Currently the district has a ratio of 1.8 to 1 of Chromebook computers to students.

•Expand Middle School Athletics – This expanded middle school sports for a full slate of teams in every building (except for volleyball at this time). District officials believe this helps increase student and parental involvement and achievement.

•High School Pathways – The goal is to increase student opportunities for technical and career development.

•Social Service Support – Partnering with ADAMH, this program offers mental health support for families and students to improve student success.

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  1. I have felt for quite some time that preschool is a necessity in our district. The other projects mentioned are things very much needed; however, our kids are so far behind before they get to kindergarten I believe we must put preschool at the top of our wish list. A strong foundation is just as important to building a child’s education as it is when building a house. If our children start their education behind where they should be, they will most likely stay behind and we will not see our test scores where we want them to be in spite of how hard our teachers try (and we have the most hard working teachers in any school district). I do agree with Mr. Shoemaker, we should not put four-year-old children in modulars. Frankly, we should not put any child in modulars, but you must do whatever necessary when you are so over-crowded. All the other projects are programs and increases to programs our district needs, but our students coming to us as far behind as they do is not just something on wish list. We have a crisis with our children not being prepared for school and we must address it. It makes me very sad to see our children coming to school so unprepared, so when you think of the expense of preschool and the fact that we cannot offer more advanced programs for our children, please do not blame the district, look at today’s society and hope that some day our parents will once again realize their children are deserving of a minimum of 30 minutes of their time to sit with that child and read to them. Then, preschool will not be such a crisis and we will be in a position to offer extended programs to our children.


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