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Rising Stars Shine in the Classroom

For some 270 children starting kindergarten in the fall, they are Rising Stars for the next four weeks.

These newly enrolled students are participating in the Rising Stars program, a nurturing and welcoming experience designed to prepare young children for a successful start into kindergarten. The program operates from July 12 to Aug. 4, 8:00 am to 12:00 pm daily, Monday through Thursday in all elementary schools. There is no cost to families and the program not only provides age-appropriate instruction and social interaction but also includes breakfast and a bag lunch each day for children to take home when they leave.

“Few things are more daunting for some children than the transition from home to a full-day classroom environment,” said Superintendent Dr. Don Phipps. “The Rising Stars program, specifically designed to address these perceptions, helps children to become more familiar with the formal school environment and better acquainted with a school-centered routine.”

The following are the goals for the Rising Stars program:

* Help children transition to kindergarten

* Let children learn to play together

* Teach children about classroom rules

* Help children learn all about school

* Encourage parents to become involved in their child’s school activities

* Introduce children to the alphabet in a fun way

* Explore math with hands-on activities

Dana Hicks, former Rising Stars teacher who is now the program administrator, said that having taught it herself she has seen the positive effects it has on children and their parents, especially with separation anxiety. “It’s the first step for both child and parent entering the public school setting, and we want them to feel welcomed, comfortable, and inspired for learning,” Hicks said. “The kids enjoy it and have fun in the classroom, and that’s what I really love about the program.”

When the 2021-2022 school year begins for students on Aug. 23, 2021, kindergarten classes generally follow a staggered schedule the first week of school to provide an adjustment period for students, which reflects the Rising Stars approach of easing these youngsters into school.