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November 17, 2017

10/26/2017 2:39:00 PM
ROE's pre-K program may find home at WES
A pre-kindergarten program offered through the Regional Office of Education 12 may join Robinson Unit 2's own program at Washington Elementary School in the fall.

The question facing Unit 2 school board members is how best to achieve this.

Unit 2 board members Monday discussed the possibility of the Storybrooke Preschool program, now in a building owned by Senco Construction, moving into WES at the start of the next school year. It is similar to Unit 2's Get Set program, which is already at Washington.

"This is all very preliminary," Superintendent Josh Quick said while explaining options suggested by the district's architect for making room for the ROE program.

One would be to move certain programs, such as special services, out of WES at least temporarily.

A second plan would be to build two additional classrooms on the southeast corner of the school, next to the faculty parking lot.

The third would be to construct a stand-alone building to house pre-K programs. It likely would be west of the WES playground.

A fourth option would be to partially enclose one of WES' two courtyards to make room for two classrooms.

Board President Dennis Inboden said this is not the first time the possibility of enclosing a courtyard has been discussed.

Each option has pros and cons. One of the biggest cons in any case is cost. Another is the increase in traffic at WES. The stand-alone structure proposal includes the construction of additional parking with a new access drive from North Prairie Street.

Having them under one roof makes sense. Both have 80 children between the ages of 3 and 5 who will become Unit 2 students. Because of this, Unit 2 and ROE 12 already coordinate their efforts.

"They are all our kids," Unit 2 pre-K teacher Renee Willis told the board.

Willis added having the programs together might initially cause some confusion for parents, but that would pass. On the other hand, it would help keep the programs consistent with each other.

Inboden agreed. He pointed out that while pre-K programs are not required, "there is a ton of evidence they really help children when they get to school."

WES principal Jason Stark pointed out a move is on in education to create "early childhood centers" which are separate from elementary schools, have their own identities and are designed to use different concepts.

The board will gather additional information on the proposals.

Also Monday, board members gave the go-ahead to the Robinson Soccer League to look into using the field behind Nuttall Middle School as a place to play home games.

Rick Guyer told the board the group would like to level out 1.8 acres of the parcel, creating two soccer fields, one for junior-high games and one for high-school level matches. The group would pay for the work through donated funds.

Also, because the field is also used by the Robinson Junior Football League for practice, the group would mark the fields for both soccer and football. First, however, the area will need to be surveyed.

The soccer league has a junior-high team. It plays in spring and fall and just completed its fourth season. A high-school team, that will play only in spring, is expected to launch in May.

In personnel matters, employee Brent Rich was reassigned as district maintenance director, replacing Jeff Blair, who retired.

Kelsie Harper and Darvin McCloud were hired as substitute teachers and Kenneth Martin, Tyrone McQuaid and Denise Wells were hired as flex bus drivers. Alaina Randolph was hired as a bus chaperone.

Resignations were accepted from bus drivers Julie Taylor and Casey Walls.

In other business, the board:

• Was told workers are attempting to determine if there are drains beneath the Robinson High School gymnasium floor. Clogged drains could have contributed to water damage suffered by the floor.

• Amended school policy to reflect the district now has an undesignated prescription for Epi-pens for emergency use. The prescription was written by Dr. Gary Tennison and the pharmaceutical company has agreed to donate the first two juvenile pens and two adult pens.

• Named board member Amy Stone as Unit 2's voting delegate for the upcoming Illinois Association of School Boards convention in Chicago.

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