Success for Kinder Academy leads to expansion

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

District develops early childhood education programs

After a successful inaugural year during the 2017-18 school year, Eunice Thomas Elementary has added a second Kinder Academy class that will serve an additional 15 students.

Kinder Academy is a transitional kindergarten class that serves as the first year of a two-year kindergarten experience for some of Cassville’s youngest Wildcats. The Board of Education made the decision to offer Kinder Academy last year, and after a successful year, the board voted to expand the program to serve more children during the current school year.

“The Kinder Academy program is an outstanding program designed to give our early childhood students additional support to achieve success,” said Richard Asbill, Cassville superintendent. “Our Board of Education understands the importance of our early childhood emphasis and is excited to expand a program to serve our students.”

Kinder Academy’s curriculum is aligned with the Missouri Learning Standards between pre-kindergarten and kindergarten. Students will also expand their education outside of the traditional classroom by participating in daily special class curriculum such as music, art, library, technology and physical education.

“The primary school is thrilled with the addition of a second Kinder Academy class,” said Catherine Weaver, Cassville Primary School principal. “Our data shows that last year's participants made an average gain of 16 percentile points from the beginning of Kinder Academy until the end. It also showed that last spring, when our Kinder Academy students were screened with incoming kindergartners, they scored 20 percentile points ahead of others.”

With more than 20 years of experience as an educator, Julie Brewer was selected to serve as the second Kinder Academy teacher. Michelle Ramaeker will continue to teach Kinder Academy as well.

“Mrs. Brewer brings a wealth of experience with her, having taught not only first grade, but preschool for many years as well,” Weaver said. “She and Mrs. Ramaeker have already spent long hours planning and working together for another successful school year.”

In addition, Brewer has taught in a Missouri Preschool Project classroom which incorporates many instructional activities that have been successful in Kinder Academy.

“The one aspect of Kinder Academy that excites me the most is that I will get to witness as the students experience the foundations of learning for the first time,” Brewer said. “It is amazing to watch this process as the world of learning opens up to them in a whole new way. Mrs. Ramaeker has done an excellent job launching Kinder Academy this past year. It is exciting to join her in this new adventure.”

Both 15-student Kinder Academy classes are full for the 2018-19 school year.