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Additional day added to Blackduck school readiness program

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The Blackduck School District’s school readiness program will be bumped up to two days per week during the upcoming school year.

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The Pathway II — Early Learning Scholarship, which is applied for by parents and based on household income, is granted by the Minnesota Department of Education. In the past, the readiness program was only held on Wednesdays.

The program has expanded and will now be held from 8:15 a.m. to 4:20 p.m., like a typical school day, on Wednesdays and Fridays.

The program is for children who will enter kindergarten the following year.

“It gets them used to what kindergarten would be like as far as schedule, routine, classroom setting, discipline, behavior, expectations, and a lot of what we’re doing in our school readiness is a lot of the same skills that they’re learning in kindergarten,” said Ryan Grow, community facilitator.

The program also assesses students the same way they will be assessed when entering and graduating from kindergarten.

“Then they can report to the kindergarten teachers on each individual student,” Grow said. “So if they’re going to such and such a teacher we can let that teach know this is where (the student) is in reading and letter identification and number sense and all that.”

Parents can apply for the Pathway II scholarship at an open house that will held for the Early Childhood Family Education program and the school readiness program on Aug. 27.

“Families will fill out an application and then based on if they’re on different federal programs, for instance free and reduced lunch is one of the common ones, so if they fall under that they automatically qualify,” Grow said.

Grow said that the school hopes to grow the program as it expanded the number of days as well. Last year, the readiness program enrolled about 15 students and Early Childhood Family Education had 16.

“They just get such a better experience in the long run when they start at that age because right now the State of Minnesota is putting a huge emphasis on early childhood education so we’re hoping that pays off here and I think it will,” Grow said. “Our whole goal is by offering two full days a week, which we’ve never had before, we’re hoping that’s an incentive for parents to bring those kids here.”

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