Lakota Preschools Receive ‘Step Up to Quality’ 5-Star Rating

Lakota Preschools Receive ‘Step Up to Quality’ 5-Star Rating
Posted on 12/08/2017
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For the first time, Lakota Local Schools’ preschool program has been awarded five stars by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and the Ohio Department of Education’s “Step Up to Quality” (SUTQ) rating program.

This quality and improvement rating system evaluates early learning and development programs throughout the state. Ratings are given based on a five-tiered system as a way of recognizing child care programs that meet the state quality standards and exceed minimum health and safety licensing regulations.

Lynda Theiler, Executive Director of Special Services K-6, is excited about the rating. “I am thrilled that the hard work and dedication of preschool principal Kelley Johnson and her staff have been recognized by the State of Ohio. Being named a 5-Star Step Up to Quality program acknowledges the stellar education our youngest students are receiving at Lakota.”

In response to a federal mandate, the Lakota Local School District, in 1990, developed a preschool program to serve children 3 – 5 years of age with a wide range of disabilities qualifying for special education services. A program model was adopted to include children with typical development in order to provide for a more appropriate and enriching learning experience.

The program provides a nurturing environment that supports the intellectual, academic, and social growth of young children. It is designed to serve both students with a range of disabilities as well as typical preschool students who pay a tuition to attend. The model is built on the premise that preschool-aged students with disabilities, as well as those with typical learning styles, can both benefit and grow academically by learning alongside one another. "Center-based classrooms" are comprised of equal numbers of both types of learners.

Matthew Miller, Superintendent of Lakota Local Schools, is proud of the staff’s commitment to the students. “Lakota’s preschool program is top-notch. The teachers are devoted to our early learners. They work hard to instill a love of learning and to ensure that our kids are ready to enter kindergarten when the time comes. I am very proud that their efforts have been recognized at the state level.”

While preschool staff are contracted by the Butler County Educational Service Center, educators work collaboratively with Lakota's administrators to combine resources and ensure a successful transition to kindergarten. Preschools are located at three of Lakota’s early childhood schools, Creekside, Liberty and Shawnee, and serve over 340 children.