Riverton Schools: Pre-School decision coming; Reconfiguration decision pushed back

(Riverton, Wyo.) - The District 25 School Board has decided to act on the Early Childhood Program and the Kindergarten Boost proposals at its next meeting while scheduling a vote on reconfiguration a month later. Following a nearly two-hour-long discussion and public input on the proposals at Tuesday night’s meeting, it was clear that there was support for new programming, but that reconfiguration issues still needed more thought. The board was presented with two administrative proposals to consider for reconfiguration, with the Early Childhood and Kindergarten boost program at one building with three grade 1-3 elementary schools, or four K-3 buildings with the Early Childhood Center and K-Boost program at Aspen Park. [image: Inline image 1] Superintendent Terry Snyder opened the discussion noting Riverton has one of the highest incidences of poverty among its students in the state and that 45 percent of students entering kindergarten are not ready. He said that ultimately results in poor performance in higher grades that leads to a lower graduation rate. He said that was one of the reasons the district began the Frontier Academy alternative high school this past fall. “This is not something new, we’ve been working on this problem for the five years that I’ve been here,” he said, “We’ve reduced the kindergarten class size from 27 students per teacher to 17 to 1 today and we’ll have a new elementary school opening this fall to get that ratio down to 16:1. But we’re still not where we need to be.” To close the gap between those students who have had pre-school experience to those who have not, Snyder said the district began internal discussions several years ago and then began communicating with the community one year ago. “We asked what was needed, and we’re not done with that discussion.” Snyder said Riverton has had this gap, or deficiency, for “years and years and if we continue to do what we’ve done for decades, we’ll get the same results.” Most of the parent opposition to the reconfiguration plan aired at the meeting centered around having their children attend a separate kindergarten building. One parent said the community already has the services needed to support their children with pre-school and the district doesn’t need to duplicate that effort. In answer, Snyder said nearly half of students entering school today are not ready. “We have excellent pre-schools in the community plus head start for high impact families with good programming, but even with those we know we still have 45 percent of kids that haven’t been to either of those,” Snyder reminded the audience. “Our hope is to fill in the gaps and work cooperatively with community agencies because it’s about kids. We want to get all kids the opportunity the best way we can. We think we can do that with a blend of early childhood opportunities.” *Feature Photo: Riverton Schools Superintendent Terry Snyder provided information on the Early Childhood Education and Kindergarten Boost programs Tuesday night. (Pitchengine Communities) * #county10 #news