Mar 1, 2018
By Jennifer Duckhorn
It’s been a wonderfully productive few weeks. As was last reported byLucy Hardcastle, the January 18th Board meeting was a packed house, with a lot of passion. During those two hours we heard from everyone. The Board President from the Sonoma County Office of Education,Herman Hernandez, shared hard facts about the many benefits to preschoolers, as well as the overall community, about children being educated in their local school. To quote Mr. Hernandez, “It is one of the, or may be, the best investment we can make locally.” The Board voted to overturn their previous decision to close the Preschool, and gave the audience the reassurance that the Preschool will be operating in the coming year. A sign-up sheet was passed through the packed room, for all of those who wanted to form a committee to support the Preschool. With that being taken care of, it was now time for all of us to “figure out” how this could look moving forward.
The Preschool Committee came together on January 24th, with a “pure heart” and an unstoppable determination. The group was comprised of parents, a Sonoma County Librarian, Administrators, two Board Members, the Preschool Director, and community members. A well-rounded group of individuals with a “can do attitude” and a worthy mission at hand… “How do we make a strong program that parents want to enroll their students in?” First and foremost was to extend the hours. It was decided that opening the doors at 7:15 and closing at 5:45 was a much better fit for the working parents. Also, for those that preferred, they could enroll in a partial day program. We brainstormed the best way to send out the good news to the community …. Playhouse Preschool is alive and well! After all, it was mere days ago that parents thought there was no preschool.
On January 30th we met for our second meeting. It was time for efficient efforts, as the clock was ticking. The administration and program Director finalized the necessary staffing configuration, and the many ways we could recruit quality candidates. We believe that the enrollment will be high enough so the program can pay for itself, but in the unlikely event that it may fall short, the Board and Administration agree that FUSD will bridge the costs. As the meeting came to a close we had solidified our thoughts, and proofed the many revisions.
Over the next two days we were focused on finalizing the; brochure, web page, Facebook, and Pre-enrollment form. As well as, getting all of those paper copies printed. Thank you to the shop who printed 150 full-color brochures at no cost.
It was a mad rush, but we were “live” on February 2, ready for the public to receive all of the updated information; whether by print, computer, or smart-phone. At the most recent Board Meeting, on February 8th we shared all that had happened during three very short weeks. To those that attended, we were elated to hear the Board voice, “The goal is to have the program pay for itself, but the Board realizes that there may be a lean time and this program is worthy of covering the costs to keep it open.”
It was a great community effort, thank you to everyone who shared, acted, and came through in our time of need. It is now time to enroll your 3-5 year olds in the Playhouse Preschool, space is limited so don’t delay. Brochures and enrollment forms are available at many of our fine local businesses.
There is no worthier group than the children of Forestville, together we make a town where caring comes first. What a wonderful legacy!
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