Brookfield school Supt. Toby Gibson has slowed his effort to create a preschool program.
Gibson said a meeting with the members of the Ohio Department of Education’s State Support Team for Region 5 was eye-opening in terms of the complexities of starting a preschool and understanding what he would be hoping to accomplish.
“Instead of kind of jumping in, because there’s a lot of options as far as preschools, what license you need and all the things that go on with each one, (I decided) to find that target issue: why a high percentage of our kindergarten students don’t have that preschool background,” Gibson told the school board Nov. 13.
He said at his Saturday Morning Coffee on Nov. 2 that more than half of students who enter kindergarten have not been to preschool.
“We’ve developed a preschool survey that we’re gonna share with this year’s kindergarten and first-grade parents to kind of get some background information of whether or not their child went to preschool, if so, how many years, and a variety of questions to kind of get some information,” Gibson said.
promoAs of Dec. 18, about half of the 150 surveys sent out had been returned, he said.
Gibson spoke of students who do not attend preschool as being behind when they enter kindergarten, and the difficulties of getting students to grade level in later years.
“I know what not having that experience does to students – they fall behind,” he said. “If they’re coming in at kindergarten and we’re moving them one year (forward), they’re still behind.”
Gibson said he’s open to other options, such as supporting Brookfield United Methodist Church Preschool or trying to start a Head State classroom in the district. Special Education Coordinator Jeri Hamilton has met with Head Start officials, he said.
“We’re also establishing a liaison committee with Brookfield United Methodist Preschool (which Gibson’s kids attended) and there’s a couple of other, smaller facilities in the district,” he said. “Kind of bring those people to the table and start establishing that line of communication with them and talk about what we can do to help each other out and prepare the kids that are attending preschool, help better prepare them for kindergarten.”
“I’m excited,” said Brandy Berena, BUMC preschool director. “I don’t know if I’ll be involved or not, but I’m excited.”