Preschool coming to Peabody-Burns


Superintendent, Peabody-Burns USD 398

Over the past few months, the USD 398 board of education has had to deal with various difficult issues that have resulted from declining enrollment and budget reductions. Amidst some of the difficulties facing the district, there have been some highly positive developments as well.

One of those positive developments is the addition of a USD 398 preschool. Next school year, our district will offer free preschool classes to three- and four-year-old children in our communities.

Youngsters can attend half-day preschool classes from Monday through Thursday each week that school is in session. Morning and afternoon classes will be held in Peabody-Burns Elementary School and bus transportation will be offered to youngsters living outside of the city of Peabody.

Venita Loewen, who has taught kindergarten in our district for many years, will be the preschool teacher. Mrs. Loewen's years of experience along with her certification and expertise in early childhood education will be a huge benefit to the development of the program.

A preschool roundup is scheduled from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. April 7 at Peabody-Burns Elementary School to answer questions and begin the pre-enrollment process. All parents of three- and four-year-old children living in the district are encouraged to attend.

In order for our district to facilitate this venture, we have partnered with Marion and McPherson County Head Start as well as the Kansas State Department of Education. Funding for the program will come from Head Start and the state's Four-Year-Old at Risk grant program. Parents will be asked to fill out some forms and provide information relative to income and family background. Students meeting Head Start or Four-Year-Old at Risk guidelines will be enrolled first followed by the district's four-year-old children who do not meet the guidelines. Up to 30 children will be selected to participate at no cost to the families.