We are excited to get the 2021-22 school year started. As we embark on the new school year, there are several exciting projects in the making. These projects will help us make huge strides on our mission to take our school from good to great.
We recently completed a feasibility study on starting a transitional kindergarten program at GES. This program would serve 4 year olds that are not part of our morning PreK program and 5 year olds whose parents opted to wait a year to send their child to kindergarten. We envision transitional kindergarten being a bridge between PreK and kindergarten with the focus remaining on play-based learning while also incorporating a little more in the way of structured activities. It would be a full day program that meets every day that school is in session from 8:30-3:05. Bus transportation would be provided to the already established transportable areas of town, North Town, 161 East and Bottoms, and 161 West of Town, on the district's regular morning and afternoon bus routes. Class size would be limited to 20 students. Slots would be filled with children of Germantown residents first. Any remaining open slots would be filled with interested out-of-district students. The program would be tuition-based with Germantown families paying a lower rate than out-of-district families.
The transitional kindergarten program feasibility study proved very beneficial as we learned first and foremost that there is significant interest in this type of program in our community. As a result, Germantown Elementary SD #60 is currently looking for a rock star teacher with early childhood certification to develop and lead this program. This is an opportunity of a lifetime for one lucky teacher to be part of building something new from the ground up and leading the way to full implementation of the program next August. While the teaching assignment will officially start in August of 2022, the groundwork will begin as soon as we have a candidate ready to take on this exciting endeavor. Stipend pay will be offered for time spent developing the program. The work can be completed on nights and weekends so as not to interfere with the candidate’s work or school schedule.
If you know someone passionate about early childhood education with strong leadership skills and driven by challenge, please consider sharing this opportunity with them. We ask interested candidates to send their resume and cover letter to Robin Becker at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Secondarily, we learned through the transitional kindergarten program feasibility study that future kindergarten class sizes are trending upward. In fact, we anticipate back-to-back kindergarten class splits in 2022-23 and 2023-24 due to large enrollment numbers. With a split kindergarten class in 2022-23, our building will officially be at full capacity. We will not have enough room for a kindergarten split the following year. What this means is we need to start planning for an addition to the building.
While we are in the very beginning stages of planning and there are lots of details to work out, our goal is to incorporate two classrooms and a gymnasium into a construction project. Such a project would be funded via a bond issue similar to the bond issue that allowed us to install a new roof and rooftop units on the 2000 addition to the building. The bonds that were issued for the roof project will be paid off at just about the same time that we would secure bonds for a construction project. That would allow us to complete this project and our school tax rate would remain one of the 3 lowest in Clinton, St. Clair, and Madison counties.
Schools are the heart of the community because they are the nexus that ties everyone in the community together. Our community is growing as evidenced by the number of houses being built. Many of the houses are being built by young couples. In addition, we are aware of other families wanting to move to Germantown. This is great news for Germantown because a growing community is a sign of a thriving community. An added bonus is that as our community grows, the school tax rate will decline. We need to prepare now for a Bulldog boon that will be here in a couple of years. Stay tuned in the weeks and months to come for updates on the plan moving forward.
Lastly, we were recently notified of a $50,000 matching fund maintenance grant. Through this grant, we hope to complete the following projects: fire alarm panel retrofit, fire alarm device upgrade, IP clock system install, PA system install, and classroom lockdown button install. Our plan will be to use Health Life Safety funds that we have in reserves to pay for our portion of the matching grant as all of these grant projects pertain to the health and safety of our students and staff.
As you can see, it is an exciting time at GES. In the weeks and months to come, we will be taking the necessary steps to plan and prepare for the growth of our school community.
With Bulldog pride,