Pre-K returns in Valmeyer

COVID-19 caused schools across the country to change operations in order to keep children safe. 

After a year with its Pre-K offering suspended, the Valmeyer School Board voted last week to reinstate the program. 

“I think that the value of preparing kids to start school … is something that the research shows is very important for child development and so the board decided it was something that was worth doing,” Valmeyer Superintendent Eric Frankford said. 

The board has not yet set a date for the program to return, but Frankford said updates will be posted to the district’s Facebook page. They are also working on setting a time for Pre-K screenings, which require health tests, tests for special education needs and more. 

Frankford said the decision to suspend the program for the 2020-21 school year considered the young age of the children and their ability to follow COVID protocols. 

“We were concerned about that age of students and their ability to follow guidelines as far as being six feet apart from each other and wearing masks all day and keeping everything sanitary and clean,” Frankford said of last year’s decision. 

The school board also approved changes to junior high and high school coaching staff. Susie Nagel will be the high school’s assistant girls basketball coach, while Johanna Frankie will be the high school cross country team’s volunteer assistant. High school volleyball will see Michelle Miller as assistant coach and Paige Whipple as volleyball’s volunteer assistant coach. 

Whipple will also be leading the junior high volleyball team as head coach. 

Much of the meeting was business as usual, according to Frankford. As expected at the end of every fiscal year, the board approved an amended FY21 budget. 

Students of the district will also be seeing two new bus drivers, as the board approved the new hires. Frankford said filling these vacancies was not a big issue this year. 

“This time around it was not as problematic, but we’ve had issues in the past, just like every other school district, in finding people who were willing to drive a school bus,” Frankford said. 

The board’s next meeting is 7 p.m. Monday, July 19. 

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Madison Lammert

Madison is a reporter at the Republic-Times. She has over six years of experience in journalistic writing. Madison is a recent graduate of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville; she graduated summa cum laude with a degree in mass communications. Before graduating and working at the Republic-Times, Madison worked for SIUE’s student newspaper, The Alestle, for many years. During her time there she filled many roles, including editor-in-chief. When she is not working, she likes to spend time with her dog and try new restaurants across the river.
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