Alcester-Hudson continued the district’s commitment to the development and education of their youngest students this year.
With the help of a 21st Century Grant, the district added an after-school program for all kindergarten through sixth grade students. The after-school program along with the district’s more than a decade long commitment to providing free pre-school to all 3 and 4 year-old children in the district have parents particularly pleased with the opportunities.
“The parents are appreciative of the school’s efforts to provide as many educational opportunities as possible,” A-H Junior and Senior High School Principal LeeAnn Haisch said.
The after-school program hosts 25 to 30 students per day from the time of school dismissal until 6 p.m.
“We wanted to provide an opportunity for students to have a structured and safe environment where they could go after the regular school day was done to engage in educational activities, monitored recreation, and homework help,” Haisch said.
Each afternoon the students’ time is divided among homework, physical activity, STEM, library and Makerspace, educational games and a snack. Once a week students spend time at the school and community library as part of the program’s makerspace lab.
“The students are happy to have a place where they can get their homework done and where they can interact with their classmates and after-school staff in a fun environment,” Haisch said.
From a structured timeslot after school for students to the importance of getting them in school early, the Alcester-Hudson School Board and Administration recognize the importance of early childhood education and for 14 years have committed to a free preschool program.
The pre-school program’s enrollment has greatly increased since its inception – this year 60 students at both age levels were enrolled – resulting in staff members being added and free transportation to and from school, as well.
“The parents are supportive of the program,” Haisch said.
“They know that our pre-school teacher is a certified early childhood teacher, so the children get age appropriate curriculum, experiences and expectations. They also like that we offer free transportation to and from school which takes that stress off the parents.”
Students who may need early interventions are identified by the district and given the help they need to be successful in school, which has resulted in students entering kindergarten with a strong understanding of numbers and the ability to write short sentences.
“Our initial purpose for looking at adding the free pre-school was twofold,” Haisch said.
“We were hoping to draw people to our community and school, and we were looking to have more students enter kindergarten better school prepared.”