School News

News for Little Giants Preschool


Posted: by Patricia Gibson, Communications Director
Posted: by Patricia Gibson, Communications Director
News Blog Category - News Grant County has been named one of 18 finalists under consideration for the state’s pre-K pilot program, to be launched in 2015.

Since this spring, shortly after plans for the pre-K pilot program were announced, Marion Community Schools, along with several other agencies in the county, have been working to show that Grant County should be one of the five counties chosen as part of the pilot program.

“Our community came together to start to plan for this at the early stages,” MCS Director of Elementary Education Brenda McVicker said after the 18 finalist counties were announced. “It’s exciting to know that our community as a whole has been noticed.”

Among the other agencies and people that have been active participants in the advisory council aiming to bring the pilot program to Grant County are:
  • Indiana Wesleyan University
  • Westminster Preschool
  • Carey Services
  • Head Start
  • United Way
  • Family Service Society
  • Marion city officials
  • Grant County Economic Growth Council
  • Marion Public Libary
  • St. Martin Community Center
  • Allen Temple AME Church
  • various community representatives
According to the state, the pilot program will provide funding for pre-kindergarten for low income 4-year-olds in five counties, with services delivered via public schools, accredited private schools, and providers who have achieved Level 3 or Level 4 in Paths to QUALITY™, Indiana’s voluntary child care quality rating and improvement system.

Under the current pilot program proposal, funding would go to families who meet income eligibility guidelines. The families would then be able to choose from the eligible providers in their county. Those funds from the state will supply only a portion of the budget for a pre-K program, however, so matching funds would be needed at the local level.

According to the FSSA, there are an estimated 17,000 eligible 4-year-olds in the 18 finalist counties who are not currently receiving early learning services. The 18 counties announced June 4 by the state as finalists are:
  • Allen
  • Bartholomew
  • Delaware
  • Elkhart
  • Grant
  • Howard
  • Jackson
  • Kosciusko
  • Lake
  • Lawrence
  • Madison
  • Marion
  • Noble
  • St. Joseph
  • Tippecanoe
  • Vanderburgh
  • Vigo
  • Wayne
“We’re on track and working to design a program that will be successful and will help the children who participate in it be successful as well,” Debra Minot, secretary of the state Family and Social Services Administration, said in a statement. “We look forward to partnering with the counties to assess their readiness and implement a strong program.”


Regardless of the outcome of the continuing selection process, McVicker said Grant County children will benefit from the conversation and cooperation that has been sparked by the effort to bring the pilot program here.

“The early learning coalition and advisory council will continue to work to ensure that every child in Grant County has the opportunity to attend a high-quality preschool prior to entering kindergarten,” she said. “It’s not as important where they go. It’s that they go, and that the program is high-quality.”

The next step for the committee is to provide the state with a written Statement of County Readiness addressing certain readiness measures, including the county's ability to assist with meeting the financial match, participation of current and new providers, community and family engagement, and county readiness for early launch in January 2015.

The advisory council will meet at 9 a.m. Thursday, June 12, at Marion Public Library, to view the FSSA webinar further explaining the application and selection process. Anyone interested is welcome to attend the meeting.

The Statement of County Readiness is due June 30, and the five pilot counties are to be announced the following month. The launch of the pilot program is currently planned in fall 2015.

“Regardless of the outcome,” McVicker said, “this has been a positive process. We are all working together to meet the needs of the children of Grant County. The cooperative effort has been refreshing, and Grant County has been recognized at the state level as a community that is working together. But we also know that Grant County is ready for a pre-K pilot program, and we will continue to work toward making Grant County one of the five counties chosen.”

In addition, Marion Community Schools has already expanded opportunities for young learners in the city. Little Giants Preschool will open in the 2014-15 school year. Classes are half-day and start Aug. 11 in a new preschool wing on the campus of Justice Intermediate School, 720 N. Miller Ave.

Every classroom at Little Giants Preschool will be led by a teacher licensed in early childhood education, paired with a highly qualified teaching assistant, and the program is tuition-free. Enrollment eligibility is based on academic need. All children who will be 3 or 4 years old next school year can apply.


“Early literacy skills provide an essential foundation for lifelong learning,” MCS Elementary Education Director Brenda McVicker said. “A high-quality preschool program — like Little Giants Preschool — gives children a jump start, so that they can become successful students.”
Posted: by Patricia Gibson, Communications Director
News Blog Category - News

>> UPDATE: Enrollment is ongoing. If you wish to apply, email bmcvicker@marion.k12.in.us.



Marion parents will have a new option for tuition-free, high-quality preschool next school year: Marion Community Schools’ Little Giants Preschool.

The MCS Board of School Trustees on May 14, 2014, approved the plan to open Little Giants Preschool for the 2014-15 school year. This paves the way for about 65 students to enter kindergarten with better pre-reading skills, richer vocabularies and stronger basic math skills, as well as to begin to develop social skills and good classroom habits.


MCS offered a preschool program from the late 1960s through the mid-2000s, when it was discontinued (and full-day kindergarten was added). Recognizing that the need for high-quality preschool continues to outpace our Head Start program (which is serving nearly 160 students this school year, with more than 100 on a waiting list), we are again putting the priority on expanding early learning opportunities.

“Early literacy skills provide an essential foundation for lifelong learning,” MCS Elementary Education Director Brenda McVicker said. “A high-quality preschool program — like Little Giants Preschool — gives children a jump start, so that they can become successful students.”

MCS is creating a preschool wing on the Justice Intermediate School campus. Little Giants Preschool will have a defined, separate space and facilities within the building at 720 N. Miller Ave. 

Morning and afternoon classes will be offered. The morning classes will run from 8 to 11 a.m., and the afternoon classes will run from noon to 3 p.m. (This timing avoids overlap with dropoff and dismissal times for Justice Intermediate School students.) Little Giants Preschool will follow the same school calendar as the rest of Marion Community Schools. To view the 2014-15 MCS calendar, click here

Every classroom at Little Giants Preschool will be led by a teacher licensed in early childhood education, paired with a highly qualified teaching assistant. The program is tuition-free. (There is an initial registration fee of $75; parents who cannot pay this fee can apply for a waiver, or we can work with families on a payment plan. This fee is due once a child has been accepted into preschool.)

Enrollment eligibility is based on academic need. All children who will be 3 or 4 years old the next school year can apply. Children will be screened at time of application. Those who qualify will then be admitted in the order they applied, on a first-come, first-served basis.

Registration is set for 9 a.m., 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. Monday, June 2, at Tucker Career and Technology Center, 107 S. Pennsylvania St., where the current and Head Start program is housed.

Classes at Little Giants Preschool will first be formed for incoming 4-year-olds. If space is available, classes will also be offered for incoming 3-year-olds. Once all available spots are filled, any other eligible children will be put on a waiting list. (Any 3-year-olds on the waiting list will get first chance of enrollment the following year.)

“Preschool is the single most important move we can make to improve the chances for academic success for more of our students,” MCS Superintendent Brad Lindsay said. “Early learning lays the groundwork for lifelong learning. Lifelong learners make a difference in their community. We believe providing this quality preschool is a service that is absolutely essential for to community to build a better future.”


 

FAQs

Why choose Little Giants Preschool for my child?
  • Little Giants Preschool is tuition-free.
  • Every classroom at Little Giants Preschool will be led by a teacher licensed in early childhood education, paired with a highly qualified teaching assistant.
  • We will help children build social skills they need to be successful in kindergarten and beyond, including independence, responsibility, self-help, interaction and self-expression.
  • Our focus on early literacy skills will lay the foundation for lifelong learning. 
How can I enroll my child in Little Giants Preschool?
  • Apply during registration:
    • WHEN: 9 a.m., 1 p.m., or 6 p.m. Monday, June 2, 2014
    • WHERE: Tucker Career and Tech Center, 107 S. Pennsylvania St.
  • Children will be screened at time of application. Children who qualify will then be admitted in the order they applied (on a first-come, first-served basis).
Are there eligibility requirements for Little Giants Preschool?
Enrollment eligibility is based on academic need. All children who will be 3 or 4 years old next school year can apply. Children will be screened at time of application to determine if they qualify.

Are there residency requirements for Little Giants Preschool?
Any 3- or 4-year-old who lives within the Marion Community Schools district can apply. (See question above for further eligibility requirements.)

How many spots are available for students for next school year?
Under the pilot program approved by the School Board, there is space for about 65 students at Little Giants Preschool this year. Once 2014-15 classes are filled, other eligible applicants will be put on a waiting list. (Any 3-year-olds on the waiting list will get first chance at enrollment the next year.)

Where will the preschool be housed?
MCS is creating a preschool wing on the Justice Intermediate School campus. Little Giants Preschool will have a defined, separate space and facilities within the building at 720 N. Miller Ave.

What time will classes start and end?
Morning and afternoon classes will be offered. The morning classes will run from 8 to 11 a.m., and the afternoon classes will run from noon to 3 p.m. (This timing avoids overlap with dropoff and dismissal times for Justice Intermediate School students.) Parents can request to enroll their child in a specific session (morning or afternoon) at registration, and we will try to honor as many requests as possible, while keeping class sizes balanced. 

What day will classes start?
Little Giants Preschool will follow the same school calendar as the rest of Marion Community Schools. To view the 2014-15 MCS calendar, click here

Is there a cost to enroll?
There is no tuition charge to attend Little Giants Preschool. There is a $75 registration fee due at time of enrollment. (Parents who cannot pay this fee can apply for a waiver, or we can work with families on a payment plan.) This fee is due once a child has been accepted into preschool, not at time of application.
Posted: by Patricia Gibson, Communications Director
News Blog Category - News The Marion Community Schools Board on Wednesday, May 14, approved school meal prices for the 2014-15 school year. 

The choice to raise meal prices is not one that is taken lightly. The price increases for next school year are as minimal as possible and reflect added costs the school system expects to incur. Even with the increases, MCS meal prices remain below the goal pricing levels as determined by the Indiana Department of Education.

Breakfast:
  • Paid, students K-12: 90 cents (10 cent increase from 2013-14)
  • Reduced-price, for qualifying students K-12: 30 cents (no change from 2013-14)
  • Adults: $1.45 (20 cent increase from 2013-14)
Lunch:
  • Paid, students K-4: $1.50 (10 cent increase from 2013-14)
  • Paid, students 5-8: $1.70 (no change from 2013-14)
  • Paid, students 9-12: $1.80 (10 cent increase from 2013-14
  • Reduced-price, for qualifying students K-12: 40 cents (no change from 2013-14)
  • Adults: $2.50 (15 cent increase from 2013-14)
The online payment transaction fee remains the same, at $2.40 per transaction.

For information on applying for free and reduced-price meals, click here.
Posted: by Patricia Gibson, Communications Director
News Blog Category - News The Second Annual Marion Community Schools Kindness Rally has been rescheduled and will now be a great celebration of the end of a successful school year!

 

Mark your calendars now! The Kindness Rally will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, May 22 — the last day of classes for MCS students. All students, families, and anyone in the surrounding community is invited to come join in the fun!

Features will include bounce houses, an obstacle course, dunk tank, food, and more.

Tickets to be used for the carnival attractions will be four for $1, and proceeds will fund continuing anti-bullying efforts throughout the school system. The Marion High School FOR TAXII Club (Friends of Rachel / Teens Against Xtreme Inappropriate Interactions), which helps organize and run the Kindness Rally, will also be selling T-shirts and bracelets as a fundraiser.

Doors will open and ticket sales will begin at 5:30 p.m.

The Chain Reaction Ceremony is set for 6 p.m. The ceremony will feature the first ever Kindness Awards, to be presented to one student at each building who exemplifies the difference kindness can make. Students from each school will also participate in the parade of kindness chains from each school, with each link in the chains representing a kind act noticed this school year.


Marion Community Schools is proud of our students and staff who are starting a chain reaction of kindness and compassion and making positive changes in our schools and community. The Kindness Rally will be a great end to the school year; and we hope that students of all ages and their families, along with community members, will come and help us celebrate!