Uncertain future for BHHS preschool program

March 05, 2014 08:21 am

BHHS students get hands-on teaching experience with preschoolers at the high school’s child development program.

About 50 children will lose their inexpensive preschool services when the teacher of a Brookings-Harbor High School’s child development program leaves at the end of the school year.

The program, overseen by instructor Cindy Appanaitis, offers high school students hands-on teaching opportunities with children ages 3 to 5.

Preschoolers have class four days a week for 90 minutes, for which parents pay $125 per semester. Most of this money is used to purchase supplies and to make equipment purchases. 

The student teachers earn college credit for the course. Some take the class for only a semester while others take it for up to two years.

The high school’s preschool is one of few available in the Brookings area, and Appanaitis says there is a three-year waiting list to join the program. 

 However, Appanaitis is moving away at the end of the school year, leaving the Brookings-Harbor School District without a qualified replacement.

“It would be sad to see it go,” Appanaitis said about the program. “For the last few years we got to help enrich high schoolers and the little kids.”

Superintendent Brian Hodge is hoping to find a replacement.

“It’s a wonderful program,” he said. “We had every intention of growing the program and the kids get a lot out of it.”

Hodge said the district is searching for someone with the right state endorsement, but such a person may be hard to find. The district will look for a possible replacement at a teacher recruitment fair in Portland later this year.  

On any given day, about a quarter to a third of the high school students in the program prepare lessons for the preschoolers. 

“They own the program. They get to see the impact they have on the children,” Appanaitis said.