Lawrence school board members heard a report Monday on how students, families and staff are benefiting from the current structure of the district’s early childhood education programs, as well as future goals for improvement.
The Lawrence school district provides early childhood support for 3- and 4-year-olds with the goal of preparation for Kindergarten.
Early childhood staff members shared an overview of services at Kennedy Early Childhood Center (KECC). According to their presentation, 478 children were utilizing an early childhood program service on Nov. 8, and staff anticipate more than 550 by the end of this school year.
Curriculum in KECC classrooms includes literacy and math as well as social-emotional skills and safety, according to the presentation. This year was also the first year utilizing learning coaches. KECC also provides hearing and vision screenings to children as well as participates in a host of community partnerships.
The ultimate goal is to help transition kids successfully from KECC to Kindergarten classrooms, Director of Student Services Laura Basham said during the meeting.
To gauge family satisfaction, early childhood learning staff administered a 12-item survey this year. Survey takers were asked to rate their satisfaction 1 through 4 – 1 being the lowest, and 4 being the highest. Fall 2022 results showed that the 60 respondents who took the survey were generally satisfied with the early childhood services across the board.
• 90% of respondents rated “my child enjoys attending a preschool classroom” a 4, and 10% rated that statement a 3;
• 80% of respondents rated “I feel welcome at KECC” a 4, and 10% rated that statement a 3 and 10% did not respond to that statement;
• and 78.3% of respondents rated “my family’s cultural identity is respected at KECC” a 4, while 10% did not respond to that statement, 8.3% rated that statement a 3 and 3.4% rated that statement a 2.
Early childhood staff also shared improvements they are hoping to make moving forward, including filling vacant positions and balancing current staff workload, implementing better mental health support, and more.
The Kennedy Early Childhood Center opened in 2021 in the former elementary school after the school board voted to close the building to grades K-5.
As part of Monday’s meeting, the school board also heard a report from a subcommittee within the district’s certified teachers union. Lawrence Education Association’s (LEA) salary matrix subcommittee shared comparison data as part of its work to make recommendations to the LEA negotiations team.
Subcommittee members expressed support for a new model that would “equalize” pay movement amongst teachers in the district. Read more about the salary matrix discussion during Monday’s meeting at this link.