PCSD implements new preschool programs

Megan Yeiter , The Park Record

Preschool youngsters will brave the Park City School District education system at all four elementary schools this year.

According to PCSD Student Services Director Tom Vangorder the preschool programs will begin on Monday.

The pilot program started at McPolin last year with 75 students.

"We started looking at our data of kids that were going into kindergarten and we decided we needed to change our curriculum and delivery so these kids came out of preschool and into kindergarten prepared," he said.

Last winter the school district received money from Edujobs, which Vangorder explained was given to the state last November from a stimulus package endorsed by President Barack Obama. He added that tuition and stimulus money will cover the program’s expansion.

Students with disabilities attend for free by law. Vangorder said tuition fees for traditional students are based on household income.

"Parents that can’t afford the full rate can apply for waivers based on their income. Our goal is to make it affordable for everyone and make it a high-quality preschool," he said.

Three-year-olds will attend preschool twice a week in the morning or afternoon. Full tuition is $95 monthly.

Four-year-olds will attend four days a week, morning or afternoon. Full tuition is $180 monthly.

More than 200 preschoolers are enrolled in the program throughout the district this year.

"The more children we can get prepared for kindergarten, the smaller that education gap will be," he said.

Vangorder expects the program to grow in enrollment.

"Starting out I think it’s outstanding to get the response that we have. As far as space and what we could anticipate to fill both programs, we could potentially accommodate 400 students," he said.

PCSD Early Childhood Coordinator Kathy Anderson, who has been working in Park City for more than 21 years, said it is an exciting program.

Anderson said the school district is using a classroom model that Granite School District has used for more than six years. She said the strongest component of the curriculum is the classroom structure.

"It gives the students more responsibility. The day is structured and they still have some time for their own choice," she said.

The students will have informal assessments three times a year.

"Having that assessment helps pinpoint where students need more work and then we’ll have parent-teacher conferences," Anderson said.

Students will be evaluated on oral skills, phonological and phonemic awareness, alphabet knowledge, prewriting/motor skills, book knowledge/print awareness, math, social/emotional skills and growth, according to Anderson.

"(The assessment) is pretty lengthy for three- and four-years-olds. But research shows that early intervention closes the education gap," Anderson said.

The program will also have special-education and a speech staff that will travel around to all the schools.

For more information regarding the preschool program and availability visit or contact the district at (435) 645-5600.

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