May 12, 2017
We are excited to announce that St. Gabriel Preschool will launch a Junior Kindergarten classroom for the 2017-2018 school year!
Beginning in the 2017-2018 school year, St. Gabriel Preschool will accept fourteen students in a newly-formed Junior Kindergarten classroom. This strategic move aligns with the holistic goals of St. Gabriel Parish – school, preschool and church – to provide a “Best in Class” School of Excellence, by giving our students another tool to ensure a solid learning foundation. Success starts here!
The Preschool is growing, once again, with a total enrollment of 81 students this school year, reflecting a 10% increase in enrollment year over year, and 81 students already enrolled for the 2017-2018 school year. We expect to be at capacity in the 2017-2018 school year, marking another 13.6% increase YOY, and a 7.4% increase in enrollment since 2015.
Looking forward to the Fall of 2017, and a new academic year, Preschool Director Shelly Pierce identified the need for a program that provides a step, or bridge, between Pre-K and Kindergarten for those Pre-Kindergarten students that barely missed the birth date/age cut off, or who could benefit from another year to grow academically and socially. As a result of changes enacted by the Commonwealth of Kentucky Department of Education, effective for the new school year, the Kindergarten birth date/age cut off moves to August 1.
The Project Team, including myself, Principal Pam Huelsman, Preschool Director Shelly Pierce, Business & Development Manager Amanda Wolz and Maintenance Supervisor Jeff Hopper began meeting in March to discuss the overall strategic plan for the Junior Kindergarten, assessing the impacts to our students of the State of Kentucky’s change in the Kindergarten age at enrollment, a need to bolster K-8 school enrollment, and the subsequent tactics and timelines needed to achieve this goal. In April, the Finance Council approved and recommended to me that we proceed with the implementation of the Junior Kindergarten classroom, and its associated expenses. Pre-Kindergarten parents were notified of the existence of the Junior Kindergarten, and eight students are now enrolled for the next school year.
The emergent needs of the preschool and school have necessitated several physical campus moves. The Junior Kindergarten classroom will be set up in the former Sensory Room. The Sensory Room will be re-located to an existing Kindergarten classroom in the K-Wing (formerly Ms. Konermann’ s classroom). Ms. Konermann’ s classroom will move to the room formerly occupied by Ms. Rawe, who will be a First Grade Teacher next school year.
Minds in Motion curriculum is taught in the current Sensory Room. This curriculum is a vital part of the preschool experience, and one of the most popular items for students and parents. The children learn gross motor skills and techniques, and are exposed to new skills such as yoga. The School also teaches Minds in Motion, but had previously lost dedicated space for the curriculum. This move enables the Preschool and School to work in a joint venture to create a unified Sensory Room and experience for students, three-years-old through Grade3. This summer, Pam Huelsman and Shelly Pierce will lead a group of Minds in Motions leaders to synergize curriculum, programming and scheduling.
This marks another milestone in the evolution of our St. Gabriel Preschool. In May 2015, the facility was completely renovated to allow for a capacity of 92 students. Along with a fifth classroom, the Sensory Room, where preschoolers exercise and develop gross motor skills, we now enjoy four distinct classrooms, each with their own child-sized bathrooms, teacher station, refrigerator and hand-washing station. With the eventual renovation of a current storage room, the Preschool may eventually expand its capacity to 106 students.
The new facility design is a reflection of our continued commitment to see our children rise above and soar beyond. It’s an investment in our future as a parish, a faith-based community and a school committed to excellence in education. We realize that excellence goes beyond the exterior appearance that it is achieved with a dedicated and enthusiastic staff who love working with children, and a classroom experience with demonstrated results. We hold ourselves accountable to achieving this mission.
“The creation of the Junior Kindergarten ensures that our parents, students and K-8 school teachers know that we are here for the students and believe that students will be viewed based upon their individual needs, and that they are well-prepared in their academic career,” Shelly Pierce said.
Ms. Carmen Raidy will be the Lead Teacher in the Junior Kindergarten classroom. Carmen joined us in March 2017 as the three-year-old Lead Teacher, with the intent of transitioning to the Junior Kindergarten classroom once the program was vetted.
“Carmen is very creative, very in-tune with the individualized needs of each student. She has over ten years of experience in Pre-K and Junior Kindergarten classrooms, coming to us from Sacred heart Preschool. She is the perfect fit for this classroom,” Shelly Pierce commented.
All of us look forward to the happy ministry of enabling our youngest generations to grow in wisdom, grace and knowledge and soar with spirit in the world around them and the world that awaits them.