Every year administration reviews enrollment data, class size and program needs throughout the district. This fall, our principals recognized that our kindergarten classes had a number of students who were having a much more difficult time adjusting to school. Teachers were seeing more students having a hard time following directions, paying attention and maintaining emotional control. As a result, we took a hard look at our kindergarten program and screening data and were disheartened to learn that according to the state’s kindergarten assessment screener only 12% of Lake Villa students are developmentally prepared for kindergarten. Sadly, Lake Villa kindergarteners scored drastically below the state average in all three areas tested.
At the last school board meeting, the administration presented a possible plan to address this need. You can view the presentation here. Lake Villa School District Instructional Program Discussion (1)
Part of this plan to improve kindergarten readiness would be to open up a preschool program at each of the elementary buildings. The research is clear on the benefits of Preschool programs. Decades Worth of Studies: One Strong Message
Currently, we don’t have space at the elementary schools for that to happen. (At this time Pleviak is not an option because we are in year 5 of a 10-year lease.) One of the avenues in consideration is potentially moving 6th grade to Palombi. 6th grade would continue to operate as a self-contained program (meaning students would not switch classes every hour). 6th graders would have access to middle school activities, enrichment, and athletics. If you glance thru the presentation you will see that there is enough space if we added on another lunch shift and make minor staffing adjustments.
Understandably, talk of moving 6th grade back to Palombi generates some strong emotion. Some staff, parents and students will be for it, and others will be dead set against it. Arguably, both sides are right. Because this would be such a big change, we recognize the importance of getting feedback from all parties. We will be holding focus meetings with parents and staff to answer questions, hear concerns and explore alternative ideas that arise. We are right now only exploring the concept and opening up a discussion that based on the needs of all students throughout the district. This may or may not be the best option. No decision or recommendation has been made – it is way too early for that. The earliest we would consider implementing any change would be Fall of 2020.
In the meantime, if you have questions, concerns or ideas about how we can better meet the needs of all of our students, feel free to reach out to me – firstname.lastname@example.org