The first full week of March was JMU’s spring break and I took advantage of the slower pace on campus and took a few days off to visit some of our schools. I was able to chat with principals and tour facilities. We have amazing students, teachers, and administrators and taking this time to meet with them was a great reminder of that. This post is the first in a series about my visits.
I’ll start off my whirlwind school visits with our youngest students, the kids at Wayne Hills. Wayne Hills is our preschool program, currently with classes for 4-year olds and this past year we were able to add a 3-year old class. The preschool program is needs-based and is thus able to provide a quality preschool education to children that might not otherwise have access. Educational research tells us the importance of early childhood education to set students on the path for success. By providing access to a high-quality preschool we are setting these students up for success throughout their educational career.
Dr. Diane Behrens came into the role of principal over the summer and needless to say she’s been busy ever since. There is great energy in Wayne Hills, the students, teachers, instructional aides, staff, are all excited to be here. I came during the week of Dr. Seuss’s birthday and there were decorations of various characters throughout the rooms. Our local Kiwanis Club donated Dr. Seuss books to the school’s library, ensuring the legacy of his whimsical stories enthralls the next generation of readers. Community support is an important component of the success of our educational programs. Volunteers from the church across the street, Wayne Hills Methodist Church, read to children and participate in various activities. It’s great to see and hear about community leaders coming together to support our students.