REDMOND, OR -- The Redmond School Board is discussing significant changes to how the district prepares younger students for the rigors of elementary school. Following a U.S. Department of Education study showing fewer than 25% of Oregon 4-year olds are enrolled in a state-certified preschool, Redmond is looking to create its own early learning center. "We have Terrebonne and Tumalo schools who are dabbling in this effort to create a preschool experience for kids as they come to Terrebonne and Tumalo as our satellite elementary schools, that they would be able to provide some limited access to pre-kindergarten age kids. We think there’s some great stuff going on," Redmond Schools Superintendent Mike McIntosh told KBND News.
He says the biggest shift, though, would be with kindergarten students, beginning in Fall 2016, with the creation of the region's first early learning campus. "What we believe is the Hugh Hartman campus should and will become an early learning center. What that means is that it won’t be a standard K-5, like we have in the rest of the district. We believe – at this point the planning stages are still young – but we believe that school will then house in 2016 all the kindergarten students that are in the Redmond school district, except those that are going to Terrebonne and Tumalo." The Hartman facility currently houses Redmond Proficiency Academy's middle school program, but RPA is moving to a new building after the 2015-16 school year. "What that allows us to do at the Hartman campus, is to provide opportunity for this preschool idea to take root. A pivotal part of this is the partnerships that we develop in our community, with daycares, preschools, with the county, with mental health services, clinics, ESDs, Healthy Beginning and Head Start – All those partnerships that become vital in providing access and services to a collection of families aged 5 and earlier," says McIntosh.
He says the effort is part of state push to better prepare young children for school, and is modeled after similar facilities in other parts of the state. To read about Crook County's efforts, click HERE