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Story by Carly Erickson and Veronica Dergachev
Usually, your traditional elementary school is grades Pre-K through fifth grade. But, in Prospect, there are two elementary schools. Algonquin, the older of the two schools, has grades Pre-K through third, and Community has grades fourth and third. But, instead of the students transitioning from one school to the other in the middle of their elementary years, soon they will be going to the brand new elementary school, Prospect Elementary.
Prospect Elementary School, the largest part of the three-part building project that has been taking place in Region16, will be opening in August to start off the 2015-2016 school year. It will be the new home for Prospect students grades Pre-K through 5th grade. During 2011, the Region 16 Board of Education decided that it was time for new school.
“Algonquin and Community are old, and not appropriate anymore for the level of education being taught,” said superintendent, Michael Yamin.
Yamin explained that if they were to restore the two old schools, it would be much less cost efficient and it just would not make sense to not build a new elementary school. There were issues with the facilities at the old schools and various other problems, so the region really did need a new school.
According to Yamin, it took about a year and a half to build the school. Nothing major went wrong in the process, and they are very happy with the final product.
The new school will be led by the current administrators of Algonquin and Community School, Vice Principal Jeffrey Haddad and Principal Dr. Rima McGeehan.McGeehan is one of many looking forward to the opening of the new school and a new journey.
“The most exciting thing is that we are moving into a state of the art new facility which makes Prospect the special place that it is,” mentioned McGeehan.
McGeehan looks forward to the challenge of leading a new school. The new school will replace Algonquin and Community school both of which will close at the end of the school year. McGeehan said that the two schools combined will bring the students, parents, and staff together as one which is very beneficial.
Many changes and opportunities will be introduced to students and faculty that was not available in either Community or Algonquin. McGeehan mentioned that the biggest change in the curriculum will be at the kindergarten level from a half day to a full day program.
“[A full day kindergarten] will include high expectations in literacy and math, research-based play experiences, learning centers, and opportunities for teachers to work on student goal setting and differentiated instruction daily,” explained McGeehan.
Students in grades pre-K through 5 will also have a technological advantage that was not available at the old elementary schools and will enrich their learning experiences daily.
One of the many benefits of combining the two schools is that all students are together in one school.
“I believe the students will enjoy being around many other children,” said McGeehan, “in many cases including siblings!”
One of the new programs that Prospect Elementary will offer will be “reading buddies”. McGeehan says that “reading buddies” will provide a chance and new experiences where older children work together with the younger children to grow as learners.
With the new school focused on improving student’s education McGeehan is excited just to be part of the new establishment.
“It is an honor to have the title of Principal of Prospect Elementary School.”