Yoder praises impact of preschool for children

Hillsboro Elementary School principal Evan Yoder told USD 410 Board of Education at its Jan. 22 meeting that children are better prepared for school if they have attended preschool as 3- to 4-year-olds.

“There’s no better bang for your buck than preschool,” Yoder said. “Kindergartners are more advanced socially and emotionally if they’ve been to preschool.”

In his report, Yoder said with the projected preschool numbers, it looks like staff additions may be needed for the 2018-19 school year, especially if USD 410 offers all-day preschool for 3- to 4-year-olds..

McPherson school district, which holds all-day preschool for its 3- to 4-year-olds, oversees the Head Start program at USD 410.

“McPherson is asking us to move to this model,” said Superintendent Max Heinrichs.

Susie Kliewer, director for Marion County Parents as Teachers, said services are provided for children ages birth to 36 months, with the goal of kindergarten readiness. Those services include home visits, group events, screenings and resource connections.

“We’re helping parents to be their children’s first and best teachers,” Kliewer said.

Because of changes in funding, she said, PAT has no restrictions for which families it can assist. In USD 410, 18 families with 22 children are served by PAT, she added.

She also reported that PAT possibly could be expanding services to age 5 if that would benefit the county’s school districts.

Heinrichs highlighted a report from the joint stadium operations committee for the Joel H. Wiens Stadium, which involves representation from USD 410 and Tabor College.

The committee is making plans to purchase new carpet for the field to be installed after next year’s season, he said, noting that the current turf, guaranteed for eight years, has been used for 10.

Four turf companies will come in to present their products, Heinrichs said, adding that cost will be between $370,000 to $450,000.

“Funds are there for this to happen,” he said.

In other business, the board:

◼ approved the TEEN Interlocal Agreement Resolution for the next five years, beginning July 1 through June 30, 2023.

◼ approved the cell-phone policy for middle school students. The policy requires electronic devices to be turned off and not visible during the school day and outlines consequences for violating the policy.

“There’s been a lot of good feedback (about the policy),” Heinrichs said.

◼ heard an update from Heinrichs about plans to install an elevator in Hillsboro High School. Bids are due by Feb. 7 and tentative plans are to complete installation during the summer.

◼ approved extending Heinrichs’ contract as superintendent through June 30, 2020.

◼ approved hiring Tammy Suffield as USD 410 food service manager beginning Jan. 29 at the rate of $15.25 per hour.

◼ approved HES custodian work agreement for Maria Chaves at $9 per hour.

◼ met in executive session for personnel matters.

◼ received an invitation to attend the Hillsboro Chamber dinner on Feb. 26, which would be paid by the district.

Board member Kim Klein attended the meeting via phone, and Mark Rooker, board president, was absent.