The Belvidere School District only offers preschool for students with disabilities. Starting next school year, the district is expanding to offer parents a new program that will make sure kids of all abilities can learn from each other.
"A lot of our students coming into kindergarten don't have any school readiness skills," said Matt Ross Belvidere School District Special Education Director.
District 100 is giving parents more options to enroll their preschoolers through its new Blended Early Childhood program.
"The idea is to give our students with I.E.P's [mental disabilities] an opportunity to go to school with students who are non-disabled," Ross said.
Several classrooms will be filled with a mix of traditional students, those who are considered at-risk and some with special needs. Each class will have a max of 20 students and meet a couple hours either in the morning or afternoon. Classes will be housed in four District 100 elementary school buildings.
"We are going to pay for a lot of it through local tax funds," Ross adds.
There is no cost if a student qualifies through the district's at-risk screening process. If a child does not qualify, tuition is $250/month.
"We see a lot of growth in kids that go to preschool," said Ross. "It's an investment in the future, so we are going to spend a little money now and hopefully we'll save a lot of money in the future."
The deadline to register is May 29th, for more information, log on to the district's website.