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Loomis Union to offer junior kindergarten program

District also to have modestly priced preschool
By: Joyia Emard, Loomis News Staff Writer
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The pre-kindergarten set and their parents have some new educational options. The Loomis Union School District is offering a free junior kindergarten class and a modestly priced preschool for district families. The classes begin in August and are expected to save the district approximately $76,000, while offering families additional educational choices for their young children. “This is good news. It benefits the community and helps save the district money at the same time,” said Laura Bishop, director of special education. According to Superintendent Paul Johnson, the junior kindergarten class will be held at Placer Elementary School. He said the teacher will have a multi-subject credential and a special education credential. He said the students will also have two classroom aides. The preschool program, Johnson said, will be conducted by STAR Education and will be held at Loomis Grammar School in the same building where STAR already holds an after-school program. “The program is designed for students who are not yet ready to attend traditional kindergarten socially and/or academically,” Bishop said. The junior kindergarten brochure, available on the district Website, states the class is taught at “a slower pace and offers more individualized instruction … designed for students who ‘are not quite ready’ for traditional kindergarten.” “This program helps all students learn to be successful in school. It also provides an alternative to sending our little ones off to county-run programs outside our district,” Bishop said. Bishop said the junior kindergarten class will be “blended” and be open to special needs students and also typically developing students who have late birthdays or who are late to mature. Johnson said the district spends $30,000 to $35,000 per year to send special needs students to programs run by the Placer County Office of Education. Jennifer Garland is a parent of four children. She said her third-grader would have benefited from a junior kindergarten class because of his November birthday. She said she is looking into the junior kindergarten for her daughter who is old enough to start kindergarten in fall. “She’s been in speech and language therapy since she was 18-months-old. She’s been released, but I might consider it for her,” Garland said. “These are good options for families,” Garland said. Bishop said the Loomis district is accepting applications for the junior kindergarten class on a first-come basis. Applications are available at the district office. For more information visit their Web site at loomis-usd.k12.ca.us or call 652-1800. Applications for the preschool program are available through STAR Preschools at their Web site at starsacramento.org, or call 632-8407. ------------------- JUNIOR KINDERGARTEN What: Free, full-day junior kindergarten Who: For students late to mature, with late birthdays or special needs When: Begins in August Information: loomis-usd.k12.ca.us, 652-1800 STAR PRESCHOOL Kindergarten readiness: Ages 4 and 5, four-day, 2 ½-hours, $285/month Little Stars: Ages 3 and 4, two-day, 2 ½-hours, $195/month Information: starsacramento.org, 632-8407