New preschool scholarships provide more opportunities for early childhood education
Thanks to the Oracle Schools Foundation founded in 2015, the Oracle School District is now able to provide the opportunity for more children to attend preschool. Last year the Foundation raised over $15,000 with its first fundraiser, the Toast to Teachers Gala. As a result the Foundation Board elected to fully fund 10 needs-based preschool scholarships for the 2016/2017 school year. This year the Foundation requested and was granted $3,000 from the SaddleBag Notes Board, bringing the total number of full preschool scholarships provided by the Foundation to 12. Long term, the Foundation and the District are committed to continuing to raise funds to make early childhood education more accessible to all children in the district. Since preschool is not funded in Arizona, schools must charge tuition for it putting this vital jumpstart to education out of reach for those very students who need it most.
As part of this aggressive emphasis on early childhood education, the Oracle School District has completed several upgrades to their preschool program which is called Mountain Vista Kindergarten Prep. Two years ago the building that houses the preschool program was completely renovated including the installation of a new secured playground complete with a paved tricycle track. Along with upgrading the physical learning environment, the District implemented a new rigorous, yet fun, curriculum that academically and socially helps prepare students for kindergarten. This exciting curriculum, paired with excellent staff development, will help close the learning gap that many disadvantaged students struggle to overcome throughout their lives.
To ensure that parents know about the preschool program the district held a western style Preschool Roundup. This well-attended event included registration, scholarship information and many activities that helped the early childhood education staff assess incoming students’ school readiness level. Because of the Roundup, 15 new three and four year old future scholars were signed up for preschool! In addition to Governing Board members Steve Brown and Linda Lyon, special guest of honor Dianne Ashby was in attendance. As a lifelong educator and former Dean of the Illinois State College of Education, Ms. Ashby understands the importance of children being put on an early path to success. A SaddleBrooke resident, Ms. Ashby has been an ardent supporter and major contributor to the Oracle Schools Foundation and is a true champion of public education.
For more information about the District, you can check out our website at www.OSD2.org. If you would like to learn how to join in the Foundation’s efforts, please go to www.OracleSchoolsFoundation.com.