Some Penn-Harris-Madison parents had cause for concern over rumored changes to a kindergarten program.
Earlier this week, an internal memo indicated Elm Road Elementary School would not have a kindergarten class next year.
It is a location close to subdivisions like Blair Hills in the Penn-Harris-Madison district, and it is also a school that is close to the hearts of many parents and students. That’s why some were shocked and distressed to hear next year’s kindergartners might have to go elsewhere.
Kindergarten is one of the first blocks to building a strong education, and some kids cannot wait to put away the toys at home and start school. But other kids are not always eager to leave the familiar faces they see at home every day, so a little comfort of knowing someone else is key.
“My daughter is very shy,” explained Kate Seargent, an Elm Road parent. “We have always said you know you’re going to be going to same school your brother goes to; he will make sure you get to that classroom everyday.”
So when Seargent found out Elm Road School might not have kindergarten when her daughter starts next year, she thought of something she learned from her son’s teacher.
“His kindergarten teacher taught me a lot. She taught me that I am my child’s best advocate,” said Seargent.
And when she drove her son to school on Thursday, she learned other parents were behind her.
P-H-M administrators say the information that the parents heard was wrong, despite the fact it came from the school.
“We did share some information, preliminary information that was not accurate,” explained superintendent Dr. Jerry Thacker. “That was internally shared, so I think that’s where some of the confusion came about with the parents.”
They are trying to ease parents’ fears that the first blocks of a strong education will be laid at Elm Road.
“Next year, Elm Road will have full-day kindergarten at Elm Road for all of their students,” said Thacker.
Four other elementary schools in the district will make the move to full-day kindergarten, along with Elm, next year.
Just half-day is offered at Elm Road right now; full-day students are currently bussed to Madison and administrators think that pilot program played a role in some of the confusion as well.
Initially, administrators thought overcrowding might be a problem but they stress that there will be enough room for all grades here next year.