Smooth transition as students return

By LISA CAPOBIANCO

STAFF WRITER

Between student assemblies and the now five-day preschool program, Plainville Community Schools kicked off the new school year with a smooth transition.

Last Thursday, Plainville Superintendent of Schools Dr. Maureen Brummett and other district leaders made their rounds to all the schools, which were all spruced up for the 2017-2018 school year.

“We saw a lot of excitement,” said Brummett, noting how clean the schools looked.

While Plainville High School helped freshmen settle in successfully on their first day, all three elementary schools officially began their expanded preschool program, which is now a full day model, Monday through Friday. This expansion will bring more enrichment opportunities for students, such as field trips and other activities.

The district welcomed a total of 143 preschool students, which is close to the number of kindergarteners in the district, said Brummett.

“We have almost as many preschoolers as we do kindergarteners,” said Brummett.

Open to 4-year-olds, the Plainville Community Preschool Program strives towards helping children develop readiness skills as they prepare for kindergarten and beyond. Currently, the program working to receive accreditation by the National Academy of Early Childhood Programs (NAEYC)—a rigorous, voluntary process in which early childhood programs demonstrate that they meet the national standards of excellence in the areas like curriculum, family partnerships and health.

School administrators told Brummett how much the expanded program was well-received by Plainville families.

“They were so appreciative of the program,” said Brummett, noting how a five-day program is easier for parents.

Brummett further saw the impact of the universal  preschool program when she visited the kindergarten classrooms. Whether they were all lined up or quietly sitting in a circle, the new kindergarteners came to school ready to learn.

Teachers told Brummett that this was the end result of having a preschool program at Linden, Toffolon and Wheeler Schools. Brummett said having a preschool experience under their belt made a big difference for the new kindergarten students who entered the classroom with the routines down.

“We’re going to see that readiness continue,” said Brummett.

Meanwhile, the Middle School of Plainville is gearing up for a grand opening of its STEAM lab—a project made possible by an endowment from the Florence FitzGibbon family. The lab combines science and technology with engineering, art, and math.

“They can really hit the ground running,” said Brummett.

Looking ahead, another initiative planned soon is an audit of the district’s bus stops. Although the district had a successful start to the new school year overall, Brummett said she received some concerns from parents about bus routes. After getting in touch with DATTCO, the New England transportation company that provides busing services to the district, Brummett said hopes to visit the hot spots that parents have expressed concerns about. DATTCO’s safety department, which has experience in analyzing bus stop safety, will assist the district with the audit, added Brummett.

“We’ll do a safety tour of the district and look at all the bus stops,” said Brummett.