Amidst scrutiny of the iPad program and the sentencing of a former teacher for sexually abusing students, Los Angles Unified School District officials finally have something to celebrate: A brand new preschool in a swanky new building in Glassell Park.
At a ribbon cutting ceremony yesterday, school board member, Bennet Kayser called it a “vital resource” for the community.
Until now, the district offered no pre-kindergarten classes in Glassell Park, which school principal Carol Hamper said the community desperately needed. The school is majority Latino and low-income population and providing early education helps them get ready for elementary school.
“The earlier they come to school, the more prepared they are for kindergarten. Not just academically, but also their socialization skills,” Hamper said. “Most of our students have never been in a school-type environment before."
The big focus so far this year has been on building social-emotional skills and sharing.
The new early education center can serve 168 students and is building up to that, with 72 children aged 2-5 currently enrolled. The center will have seven classrooms in use at full capacity, arranged by age group. Students are clustered by age.
Fees are on a sliding scale. Each parent is required to pay something for the preschool, and Hamper said for most it works out around $2 a day for full time care. At the top end of the payment scale, parents with higher incomes pay $17.75 a day.
The Glassell Park preschool is part of L.A. Unified's school construction program, financed by $19.5 billion in bonds.
The Glassell Park preschool includes a new building with seven classrooms, multiple restrooms and an administration office with a nursing station - all set around a courtyard and playground.
There are no plans to open more early education centers, according to district spokeswoman Shannon Haber.