Now that Carson City School District’s all-day preschool program is in full swing, the district anticipates not only growth in a child’s education but in student population as well, thanks to new prospects.
The new program kicked off Aug. 28 at local schools, including at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Western Nevada, as a partnership to accommodate a new classroom.
Superintendent Richard Stokes said enrollment in schools district wide are approaching full capacity, on top of preschool enrollment limited to 25 students.
After the school board elected to go forward with a pre-k development grant in June — along with the Early Childhood Development grant from the Nevada Department of Education — the new classroom helps alleviate overflow capacity for the time being.
Students between the ages of four and five receive full-day instruction Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the clubhouse at 1870 Russell Way.
“The earlier students have access to education, the more successful they will be,” Stokes said.
The program also is helping the Boys and Girls Club grow, as each student becomes a member said BGCWN Chief Professional Officer Katie Leao.
Both Leao and Stokes said parents were hesitant about the transition before the program began but after a successful week of its debut, parents are wanting to learn more about future enrollments — including kindergarten.
“We’re adding on to the service we provide to the community,” Leao said. “We’re also fostering that next generation for kids to join the club and getting them comfortable. It has become a new pipeline to bring kids here.”
With a growing enrollment of students in all local schools, Stokes said the district is planning expansion projects in the future, depending on grants received from the state.
The possibility of expansion will take place in six other sections of pre-k programs in elementary schools by removing portable classrooms, and remodel them into brick and mortar structures of at least 10,000 square feet.
“Portable buildings last for about 25 to 30 years,” Stokes said. “But if we reconstruct them to be permanent, they could last over 80 years.”
Although Fremont Elementary School does not have a portable classroom building, it’s still in the plans of expansion along with Empire Elementary School, and even Pioneer High School, for those students.
Mark Twain Elementary School also is included, as it is built off of the same floor plan as Fremont.
However, the district is not concerned changing its square footage as the goal is to fit at least 550 students. “We want a small place and something not too huge,” Stokes said. “Something that’s workable with the number of students and limit it to that size. We have to do things more differently and build new structures to sync with the growth for years to come.”
With that, Leao hopes the current grant will turn the space in the Boys and Girls Club into a permanent site.
“For us, this means our building is being used,” she said. “As a Boys and Girls Club, we’re seen as an after-school program but with this addition, we’re excited to see the growth.”
The new, full-day program follows the district’s adopted curriculum, which focuses on reading readiness, early math skills and social and motor skills.
Lessons follow a two-week theme with dramatic play and exploration, also offering traditional amenities including desks and other classroom furniture, buses, breakfast and lunch, and a full-time teacher.