Purpose:

  • Conduct an internal review of preschool in Bellingham Public Schools
  • Develop model(s) for high quality preschool in our school system
  • Develop a recommendation for fall 2014, then a phased-in expansion of preschool during the next 3 to 5 years

Basis for Establishment: 

  • Further the efforts of the early childhood key strategy in The Bellingham Promise to further expand access and opportunities for a high quality preschool experience
  • Our district desires to partner with the community to support early learning opportunities for all children in Bellingham
  • Research supports early childhood (birth to third grade) as one of the best investments a community can make
Decision-Making Process:
  • Collaborative group processes will be utilized
  • Recommending group to the superintendent
Plan of Work:
  • Publicize group and share with stakeholders
  • Meeting #1:  Set Vision, Mission and Scope of Work; Review of Think Tank Input & Understanding of Current Programs and Landscapes
  • Stakeholder communication (two-way)
  • Meeting #2:  Review of Best Practices to established Desired State
  • Stakeholder communication (two-way)
  • Meeting #3: Gap Analysis: Comparison of Desired State and Current Reality
  • Stakeholder communication (two-way)
  • Meeting #4:  Recommendations based on findings – initial for fall 2014) and long-term (3-5 year plan, skeleton outlined)
  • Stakeholder communication (two-way)
  • Recommendation for fall 2014, embedded in budget development process
  • Sharing recommendations (initial and long-term) with superintendent, Executive Team, Department of Teaching and Learning, early childhood staff and stakeholder community
  • Implementation of recommendations for fall 2014
  • Work resumes with broader represented team in fall 2014 for long-term (3-5 year) planning
Members
Regular
  • Special Education Preschool Teacher:  Gina Ney, Tammy Koch, Jen Mallett
  • Birth through age 3 representative:  Debbie Haney
  • Speech Language Pathologist representative:  Emily Teeter
  • Occupational Therapist representative:  Danene Park
  • Physical Therapist representative:  Cindy Pearson
  • School Psychologist representative:  Laura Horan, Sharon Missiaen
  • Intervention/Behavior specialists:  Beth Nelson
  • Head Start representatives:  David Webster, Kim Walbeck
  • WCC Co-Op representatives:  Kris Smith, Amy McAuliffe
  • Elementary Principals:  Kate Baehr; Stephanie Korn
  • Special Education Director, Co-Chair:  Mike Haberman
  • Early Childhood Coordinator, Co-Chair;  Kristi Dominguez
  • Director, Department of Teaching & Learning, Co-Chair, Trina Hall

Responsibilities:

  • Attend meetings and participate fully
  • Facilitate two-way communication with stakeholder group between meetings; bring input from stakeholder group back to meetings
  • Adhere to group norms for collaborative process
  • Contribute to and support the creation of recommendation
Timeline:
  • Publicize Jan. 24-31
  • Selection:  first week of February
  • Meeting #1: Thursday, February 13– 8:30-4:00 Minutes
  • Meeting #2:  Wednesday, February 26, 8:30-1:00  Minutes
  • Meeting #3:  Thursday, March 13, 8:30-4:00  Minutes
  • Meeting #4:  Wednesday, March 26, 8:30-noon  Minutes
  • Recommendation sharing: to Executive Team and through budget hearings
  • Implementation of Initial Recommendation items:  Fall 2014
  • Use of Long-Term Recommendation:  2014-15 expanded work group
Budget Implications:
  • Budget implications for Title I, Special Education, Basic Education (FDK funds) depending on outcomes.

Recommendations:

The PreK Advisory Team is excited to announce the final approval of the PreK Advisory Recommendation for enhancing our preschool programs in Bellingham Public Schools!

Four clear outcomes of the PreK Advisory recommendation include:

1)      The importance placed on truly becoming a P-12 system,

2)      Providing parent education as a key to honoring families as the first teacher and parents as partners,

3)      Defining high quality preschool  in the Bellingham Public Schools, and

4)      Ensuring inclusion for all children through differentiated models that are being developed and explored.

The recommendation allows us to enhance and expand services to children birth to age 5,  in their least restrictive environment, including some of the following highlights:

  • provide services and support within community early learning locations,
  • expand services for preschool children from SLPs, OTs, and PTs,
  • expand responsibilities of Birth-Three Coordinator, in partnership with the Opportunity Council,
  • dedicate space, equipment and set up for high quality assessments,
  • support school psychologists for early entrance assessments,
  • offer high quality parent education and parent partnerships, in partnership with WCC, and
  • enhance inclusive learning environments and support for high quality instruction.

Thank you to all who were involved in this process, your dedication to ensuring our recommendation truly enhances services to all of our preschool children and families is greatly appreciated.

Building relationships and furthering the work with community partners is a critical aspect to our preschool expansion and will be enhanced next year as the scope of this work broadens.  Questions regarding this recommendation and/or steps for continued work can be directed to Early Childhood Coordinator, Kristi Dominguez by calling 360-676-6542.