Target 3 – Flexible Learning Environments. FWSU will maximize flexible learning environments by redefining the school day, promoting learning experiences that extend beyond the school classroom, and fostering creativity, innovation, and differentiated learning opportunities for all.
Action Steps – (1) Provide students with access to content, resources, and methods for learning beyond the school day and beyond the school walls. (2) Develop opportunities for students to collaborate, innovate, create and conceptualize in all learning settings.
Indicators of Success – (1) The school calendar and definition of school day changes to become flexible and responsive to the needs of students. (2) Students are engaged in answering authentic questions and solving problems in collaborative settings.
Fletcher Elementary School’s Preschool Program boasts the highest possible level of accreditation – five STARS – from the Agency of Human Services’s Step Ahead Recognition System (STARS). The rating signifies the program’s commitment to go above and beyond state regulations to provide professional services that meet the needs of children and families. The more STARS a program receives (up to five), the more it is involved with a wide range of practices that support children, families, and professionals.
Preschool providers, such as the Fletcher School, may earn STARS for recognition in five areas including compliance with state regulations; staff qualifications and training; interaction with and overall support of children, families, and communities; how thoroughly providers assess what they do and plan for improvements; and the strength of the program’s operating policies and business practices. Five-STAR programs, such as Fletcher Elementary School’s Preschool Program, are considered outstanding in all five areas.
As a result of it’s exceptional rating, the FES preschool receives additional state funding to maintain the high quality of the program, in addition to purchasing discounts for materials and supplies from several companies and corporations. The program also receives recognition as a provider of a superior educational experience for youngsters in the Fletcher community.
“Five STARS for the FES preschool program means that we continue to focus on creating an environment that truly recognizes the importance of all factors that impact children’s early experiences,” preschool teacher Nancy Hurt said. “Building relationships and a love of learning begins our journey together.”
Community outreach, including working closely with local preschool and childcare providers, as well as families of children birth to age five, is one programmatic priority that lead to the FES Preschool’s five-STAR ranking. A free weekly Tuesday morning playgroup held at the school offers structured opportunities for both preschoolers enrolled in the school program and younger children from the community to engage in meaningful activities together. The playgroup represents a partnership between the school and community and is co-facilitated by preschool teacher Nancy Hurt and Fletcher parent and childcare provider Starr Bidwell.
“The collaboration between the school and childcare providers and families gives the kids a sense of community. It gets them familiar with the school and teachers and gives them social interactions that prepare them for school and the world,” Bidwell said.
“Playgroup is great. Children, parents, caregivers and staff make connections and are able to network very early,” School Board member and childcare provider Diane Dayvie said. “Mrs. Hurt’s involvement allows the children to become familiar with her before they even get to preschool and makes the program even more enriching. As a caregiver, it also gives me a chance to talk with adults.”