The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

July 11, 2014

Preschool, an overlooked necessity

ELDON — A sturdy foundation is an essential building block to any project that idea proves to be especially important in education.

Earlier this week, Cardinal Community School District Superintendent Joel Pedersen was invited by an assistant to Gov. Terry Branstad to the state capital for a meeting to discuss possible ways to increase 4-year-old preschool enrollment in low-income families.

"One of our biggest challenges is space and cost," explained Pedersen. "We are working with community partners and nonprofit organizations such as Wapello Mahaska Empowerment and Sieda Head Start to get funding."

Across the state, school districts are running into low preschool attendance rates with the three biggest obstacles being funding, transportation and parent awareness. Pedersen is passionate about reaching out to families and making sure these families know that Cardinal is not simply a school district but also a support system.

"We need to start with the heart and then educate their minds, and often times today we don't do that. We do the opposite of that," said Pedersen.

Building connections with families is one suggestion Pederson brought up during this weeks meeting. He would like to hire an individual to go out into the community and make connections with families before the start of a formal education.

"I want us to be able to provide support when they need it and then connect them with those support systems that they need," explained Pedersen.

Low-income families are a top priority for Pedersen who hopes that all children enrolled in the Cardinal district have the same educational opportunities. With 70 percent of the school's students under the poverty line, it is important to provide these students with as many future opportunities as possible.

Many people refer to preschool as "glorified day care," but that is not the case. These classrooms are filled with teachers excited to educate children on letter recognition and cognitive skills. The two years spent in preschool also gives children time to learn social norms such as working in teams, sitting still, regulating behavior and raising their hands.

Text Only
Local News
  • No Headline Provided Today ... A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 3 p.m. Mostly sunny, with a high near 94. Heat index values as high as 107. Breezy. Tonight ... A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms before 1 a.m. Mostly cloudy, with a low

    July 22, 2014

  • Bill OK'd for data recovery OTTUMWA — Almost a month ago, the city’s Engineering Department’s server failed. After receiving and installing the necessary parts, attempts to restart the server failed, resulting in a drive being shipped to Data Recovery Services in St. Louis in h

    July 21, 2014

  • Man killed in Wapello County BLOOMFIELD — A man was discovered dead Monday of a gunshot wound in rural Wapello County. However, no further danger related to the shooting is expected. Authorities aren't giving full details of the incident, but a press release said that at 1:21 a.

    July 21, 2014

  • Forensic scientist: Residue doesn't determine who fired gun DAVENPORT — A forensic scientist who testified today in the trial of a Wapello County man accused of murdering his wife said that gun residue should be collected if possible. Seth Techel, 23, is on trial in Scott County, Davenport. He faces charges o

    July 21, 2014

  • Welding academy at Cardinal becomes reality ELDON — Many high school seniors find themselves making the decision to pursue college coursework or enter the work force upon graduation. A new program at Cardinal High School (CHS) eliminates this decision by offering courses that will allow studen

    July 21, 2014

  • Water requires extra caution OTTUMWA — Two area drowning deaths in two weeks have authorities focused on the topic of water safety. The Ottumwa Fire Department's Master Firefighter Bill Keith has trained with watercraft and performed multiple river rescues. This week, he said, h

    July 16, 2014

  • Plea settles kidnapping case OTTUMWA — An Ottumwa man originally charged with kidnapping will not serve prison time after a plea bargain to a lesser charge. Adem Anota received a sentence of one year in jail with credit for time served and the balance suspended after pleading gu

    July 16, 2014

  • 0722 stick horse color photo -L -T -M 4-H Expo encourages creatitivy OTTUMWA — Typically during the 4-H Expo, horses are kept at the horse arena in Ottumwa Park, but Saturday kids galloped around Bridge View Center on homemade stick horses. Children at the expo spent Saturday morning creating their own cowboy vest and

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gunshot victim found dead BLOOMFIELD — A man was found dead of a gunshot wound in rural Wapello County. However, no further danger related to the shooting is expected. Though authorities aren't giving full details of the incident, a press release said at 1:21 a.m. Monday the

    July 21, 2014

  • NEST program educates parents OTTUMWA — With any new job, you typically go through a training period that prepares you for the future. The Wapello County Iowa State Extension Office is offering both first-time and experienced parents helpful training through its NEST program. NES

    July 21, 2014

Photo reprints