The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Local Schools

September 4, 2012

Clinton preschool paves way for success

Program, in its second year in Clinton, credited for reading, verbal communication gains

CLINTON — To an outsider it might look like Bluff Elementary preschool teachers Denise Bussie and Sara Feldpausch spend their days watching kids play with animal figurines, doll houses and clay.

During an afternoon session, preschool student Wyatt Struve zooms by Bussie with a big red dog.

“Is the dog flying?” Bussie asked her energetic student.

“No, dogs don’t fly,” he replied, before asking para-educator Terry Burkert to help him assemble an animal family with the assortment of figurines laying on the table.   

Preschool Program Coordinator David Bloom watched the short exchange. To Bloom, it was much more than a unremarkable play-time moment.

“Listen to all the language development going on,” he said.

This is the second year for preschool at Bluff Elementary. Students attend either a morning or afternoon session for 2 1/2 hours five days a week. 

Each session can accommodate up to 20 students made up of 4-year-old general education children or 3-year-old special education children. The sessions are lead by two certified teachers, one general education and one special education as well as two para-educators.  

“It’s the start of their formal education,” Bussie said. She and Feldpausch also taught the inaugural year of preschool at Bluff.

“You see them learn and the light bulb goes off,” Feldpausch said.

Last year, the two saw students grow in exciting ways. Some left reading, while others who began the year without verbal interaction left openly communicating with classmates.

The classroom has 10 centers that allow teachers to work one-on-one with students in a variety of activities.  

“This room is structured to provide a lot of adult contact,” Bloom said. Preschool is much more than what appears on the surface, Bloom explained. In addition to developing language, students also develop skills interacting with fellow classmates such as problem solving and imagination building.

 U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan links early learning with success throughout life. During a speech at the National Institute for Early Education Research Duncan said the impacts of preschool can reach decades into a person’s life.  

“It helps to lower the rates of remedial education before entering college—and increases the odds of completing college. Literally, decades later, high-quality early learning programs even increase employment rates and earnings,” Duncan said.

Tracy Wey has been a kindergarten teacher for nine years.  She said with the increasing focus on academics in kindergarten, preschool has been advantageous for students and teachers alike.  

“It’s a good stepping stone,” Wey said. “You can tell socially and academically.”

The preschool program at Bluff is one of eight in Clinton including a new program at Jefferson.  The district partners with outside agencies to provide the preschool education to students at no cost.

Bluff Elementary Principal Mark Bloom said he feels fortunate to have the program at his school.

“It’s really added to our climate and culture,” he said. “It’s a positive because kids are getting a mindset for what school is like.”

Parents or guardians who are interested in enrolling their student in preschool can do so through any of the participating programs or by visiting the Clinton School District Administration Center.

Text Only
Local Schools
  • 3-28-14 1B-Signees 1 Four for signing day FULTON, Ill. -- Four seniors from Fulton High School will go on to play college athletics next fall, with all four of them staying within a 3-hour traveling distance. Only Matt Dail, who is going to Trinity Christian College in Illinois to play baske

    March 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • Schools eye same sports-sharing policy CLINTON -- Since 1982 the state of Iowa has allowed athletic sharing agreements between neighboring school districts and it is anticipated that the Clinton School District will continue to take advantage of that allowance into the 2014-2015 school ye

    March 25, 2014

  • 3-25-14 Clinton Middle School photo Projects shuffled as ground thaws CLINTON -- Progress is moving along at the Clinton Middle School, although contractors feel they may be teetering on the edge of their projected schedule. Unfavorable weather and a brutal winter have delayed some aspects of the project, which was ant

    March 25, 2014 2 Photos

  • PTK honorees Students inducted to Phi Theta Kappa CLINTON — The Alpha Theta Beta Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa recently held an induction ceremony for 30 students. Clinton Community College President Karen Vickers, EICC Chancellor Don Doucette and PTK advisors Gina Bielski, Jane Marlowe and Shirley Tur

    March 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 3-24-14 AP Fulton Fulton eyes AP chemistry course FULTON, Ill. -- Next year, students at Fulton High School could have an opportunity to do something no Fulton Steamer has done before them -- take an advanced placement chemistry course. For the first time in River Bend history, the district is hopin

    March 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Northeast pushes back technology staffing plan GOOSE LAKE -- The Northeast School District will delay moving forward with a proposal to create a technology position. During the Northeast Board of Education meeting Wednesday night, Superintendent Jim Cox suggested the district wait on transferring

    March 21, 2014

  • Tax rate to remain same GOOSE LAKE -- The Northeast School District has decide not to raise its published tax rate for the upcoming budget year. Business Manager Kristy Weiss presented the 2015 fiscal year budget to the Northeast Board of Education on Wednesday night. The p

    March 21, 2014

  • Schools plan new wrestling room at high school CAMANCHE-- Middle school and junior high school students involved in the Camanche wrestling program currently practice on the Camanche Middle School's stage, sharing space with a variety of other clubs and events. Now, a renovation project is being c

    March 21, 2014

  • Tax levy rate to decline

    Taxpayers in the Camanche School District will see a decrease in their tax rates for the 2014-2015 budget year. The school district is proposing a 62-cent decrease in its tax levy rate. District Business Director and Board of Education Sec

    March 20, 2014

  • Changes in technology use considered

    The Camanche School District is looking at changing how students use technology. As of April 8, Microsoft will stop supporting XP systems, no longer providing automatic fixes, updates and online technical assistance. Camanche Information T

    March 20, 2014