$155,000 grant will allow Scottsbluff preschool to serve more students

Quinn Wooden grabs a red fruit loop as she strings 10 red fruit loops onto her necklace. Bear Cub Preschoolers counted by tens while making a cereal necklace on the 100th day of school in February.

SCOTTSBLUFF — The Scottsbluff Public Schools Bear Cub Preschool received a $155,000 Early Childhood Expansion Grant, which will allow them to serve more children in the community.

Funds from the grant will allow for an additional preschool classroom at Roosevelt Elementary that will allow the district to bring 20 more students into the classroom.

“Bear Cub Preschool serves 160 students,” said Bear Cub Preschool Principal Jody Benson. “Bear Cub Preschool Roosevelt site will now have two classrooms serving 40 students.”

Benson said the classroom will allow them to serve 10 full-day 4-year-old students and 10 full-day 3-year-old students.

The grant funds consist of $25,000 to fund start up costs and a $130,000 for operational expenses, including teachers, paraprofessionals, furniture, supplies, playground equipment and classroom upgrades. The district is looking to hire a classroom teacher and two paraprofessionals.

“We understand the importance of quality Early Childhood Education programs for children,” Benson said. “We are very excited to expand our program and partnership with ESU 13 Head Start.”

The grant’s approval will continue to build on the district’s relationship with Head Start and ESU 13 as well as provide expanded early childhood opportunities to our community. The classroom will allow Bear Cub Preschool to serve up to 160 students in five full-day classrooms and two half-day classrooms in two Scottsbluff locations. This grant will establish funding for up to one-half of the total operating budget of the project per year continuously for the Roosevelt location, should funds remain available.

Benson said registration for Bear Cub Preschool opened in late February and applications are still be accepted for the 2019-20 school year. Applications are available at the preschool at 2512 Second Ave. or online at www.sbps.net/preschool. Students will be placed on a waiting list once the classrooms are full.

The Bear Cub Preschool curriculum aligns with the Nebraska Early Learning Standards and Teaching Strategies GOLD, but is delivered through planned guided play and intentional small group instruction.

Maintenance staff are currently working on setting up the classroom ahead of the first day of school on Aug. 19.

The Nebraska Department of Education awarded the district the grant for the 2019-20 school year.

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Lauren Brant is a reporter with the Star-Herald and the Gering Courier. Contact her at 308-632-9043 or by email at lauren.brant@starherald.com.

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