5/18/2017 12:49:00 PM North Branch
pre-kindergarten numbers strong for 2016 - 2017
The North Branch School District early childhood educational program is going to continue to offer a full day pre-school option in 2017-2018. Plus, according to the director, Erica Bjerkevedt, the program is participating as a pilot site for “pyramid model intervention” where staff develops professional relationships with pupils/families and skills looking toward optimum response to a variety of student situations.
The North Branch pre-K program also maintains its “Parent Aware Four Star Rating.” This allows students to use scholarship money provided through the state. Bjerkevedt asked the School Board and the public to put in a good word for these scholarship Pathways I and II state funds to fill financial gaps for enrolled families.
North Branch got in excess of $54,000 for enrollment financial assistance this year, and these monies are still uncertain to make it into law this legislative session, the director added.
Bjerkevedt told the school board last week that 20 percent of the kids receive scholarship assistance and also over 50 students use transportation provided through the district or Heartland Express in order to participate.
In total; there are 91 three-year-olds, 140 four-year-olds and nine five-year-olds in the preschool.
Bjerkevedt said when she moved to North Branch about 11 years ago, she enrolled a child in the “Birth to 3 Year Old” session, and it was very valuable for her to meet others in the community, along with the obvious benefits as for the youngsters as a kindergarten readiness program.
The Early Childhood Education program also hosts events where the public can learn more or just be selectively involved; there’s the vehicle fair in the parking lot by the middle school, sock hop, a Teddy Bear Band performance, among many public functions.
In other business the School Board set a public hearing for adopting next year’s student activity fees.
The hearing is June 8 at the education center on Grand Avenue in the school Board Room. Sports fees are not proposed to be changed, DECA, ProStart and FCCLA fees are proposed to be $150 and trap shooting participant fee would go to $220 for spring leagues.
It was reported at the Board meeting that there are 76 students enrolled in the distance learning or on-line program serving North Branch. Seven of these pupils expect to be graduating this June.
A Facebook effort to reintstate a North Branch bus driver, apparently failed to attract supporters to appear at the school board meeting to further the cause. There was no public comment at the Board meeting; in the wake of Internet postings alleging mismanagement and calling for firing Supt. Henton.
On the school board agenda May 11, however, the Board voted unanimously with no discussion, to accept the resignation of the district’s Transportation Director Jason Schoolmeesters, effective June 30 2017.