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Ellsworth Schools, St. Francis will partner on 4YK

A partnership with St. Francis School in the district's four-year-old kindergarten program was approved by the Ellsworth School Board Monday.

Curriculum Director and Hillcrest Elementary Principal Leona Johnson said the state encourages these types of partnerships for 4YK. The same parameters will be used as when the program was implemented in the district a couple of years ago.

"All of the students will be Ellsworth School District students," Johnson said, indicating the participating St. Francis students will become part of the public school membership for program purposes.

Among the state regulations are requirements there be a licensed kindergarten teacher for the partnership, curriculum guidelines are followed, parent outreach activities available and transportation provided, she said. With faith-based partners, there can be no religious images displayed in the classroom and the partnering students have the option not to attend.

"We're eager to enter into this type of partnership," St. Francis Principal Jeanne McCoy said.

Presently, the children St. Francis School serves aren't being served by 4YK, McCoy said. Starting them in the program and keeping them through kindergarten to fifth grade is seen as an advantage by school officials, she added.

The maximum number of students from St. Francis in the district's 4YK would be 24 and the minimum 15, the principal said. The arrangement is to begin next school year.

Superintendent Barry Cain said a $2,000 per student payment for providing at least two hours of instruction has been determined. Cain also said there's been interest in partnering with the district's 4YK from Sonshine Christian School at Crossroad Community Church, but no request has yet been received.

Read more in the print version of the Herald Feb. 10.

Bill Kirk

Bill Kirk was editor of the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth, from 1988 to February, 2015 and is now on staff as a reporter. He holds a bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He previously worked in the media distribution department at the University of Minnesota's Minneapolis campus and is past editor of The Tri-County News in Osseo, Wisconsin.

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