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Bentonville, AR: District preK summer school helps kids with social/emotional issues; $44K cost

July 23, 2018, Little Rock, Arkansas Democrat—Gazette: Summer program teaches school behavior …The Prekindergarten Bridge program serves children who have struggled with behavioral issues. Gregory Hanley, a psychology professor at Western New England University, developed the curriculum the program uses to teach critical social skills to young students. Thirty-five Bentonville School District children have met four hours per day, four days per week at Russell Primary School. The program is entering its fifth week. … Program goals include improving students' social and emotional development and gaining a full understanding of each students' strengths and weaknesses, which will better inform the schools when it comes to lesson planning and placement in kindergarten. … The curriculum starts with learning how to follow instructions. Children learn to respond to their name being called and to follow instructions in a timely manner. Children also learn functional communication, such as knowing when to ask for help or saying "excuse me" when needing someone's attention. Tolerance and friendship also are part of the curriculum. The idea for the program developed from a realization it's the youngest students -- kindergartners and first-graders -- who struggle the most with behavior, said Tamara Gibson, director of elementary education…. Passmore and Webber wrote the proposal for the program. The School Board approved it by a 5-1 vote in April. The cost at the time was estimated at $44,140. There is no cost to participating families. Emilee Lacy, the lead special education teacher at Willowbrook Elementary School last school year, was chosen as program coordinator. She oversees six licensed teachers, six teaching assistants and two psychological examiners, all district employees who wanted to work this summer….

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