KUSD to expand pre-school program<BR>

Officials with the Kingman Unified School District have decided to expand a pre-school program serving 67 students in four classes now to one with eight classes that can accommodate 140-150 children next fall.

"We're filling an important need in the community," Betsy Parker, assistant superintendent of the KUSD, said.

"We currently have a waiting list of 60 kids."

Children who will be 3 years of age when schools open in August are eligible to attend.

Children 4 years of age also are welcome, meaning a child could attend pre-school up to two years, Parker said.

Pre-school in KUSD is located at Manzanita Elementary School.

Children from throughout the district are served in one of three population categories.

Students qualify on a family income basis, because they are developmentally delayed and need special services, or on a tuition basis, Parker said.

The district receives state reimbursement for developmentally delayed students attending on a formula that takes into account the child's condition, she said.

The district gets partial reimbursement for those students attending on a family income basis through an early childhood block grant.

KUSD has agreements with two other early childhood facilities to meet the criteria needed for that reimbursement, Parker said.

There is no state reimbursement for students who attend on a tuition basis.

Julie Beyer and Susan DeCoux presently teach morning and afternoon pre-school classes at Manzanita.

Parker said two additional teachers would be hired when the program expands in the fall.

The pre-school program is in its third year of accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Parker added that district occupational, physical and speech therapy services already are housed at Manzanita School, making for continuity of services needed for some pre-school children.

"The beauty of the program is that developmentally delayed students have a wonderful opportunity to be with non-handicapped children and to learn from them and interact with them," Parker said.

"The reverse is true, too.

Non-handicapped kids teach the developmentally delayed children about caring and compassion in a classroom with students of mixed abilities."

Any parent interested in registering a child for pre-school in the fall in KUSD should contact Beyer at Manzanita at 753-6197.