Shining Rock to Open Pre-K in Waynesville | New

In a 7-to-1 vote at a special convened meeting, the Shining Rock Classical Academy school board decided to open a new pre-kindergarten program this fall. The facility will be located on the existing SRCA campus on Dellwood Road.

Board member Kelly Lewis opposed the motion.

For months, SRCA officials have been discussing how best to use its current campus on Dellwood Road in Wayneville. Council members decided that reallocation of space would be the most beneficial option.

“With the opening of our new campus, this has given Shining Rock the opportunity to explore options with the current facility that may best meet the needs of the community,” said Joshua Morgan, director of the SRCA school.

The new Pre-K program will be called Shining Rock Junior Academy. The program will have space to enroll up to 80 preschool children aged 3 and 4.

Morgan said the academic approach will reflect the same core values ​​of SRCA, which promotes discovery and experiential learning as cornerstones of teaching practices.

In addition, the Junior Academy will follow the same schedule established by SRCA.

“We have invested a lot of resources in this campus and we have a responsibility to be good stewards of public funds,” said Chairman of the Board, Mike Mehaffey. “Allowing a building to sit empty is a waste, especially when we can do the hard work to help meet a need in the community.”

During the special meeting called, SRCA board members agreed that the Pre-K offering appeared to be a feasible option now that space is available and demand for Pre-K locations. K is high in the county.

Most preschools in Haywood County follow the shutdowns and delays set by schools in Haywood County, meaning the institutions will close 10 or more times a year, Morgan noted.

SRCA’s Pre-K would operate on a different schedule, resulting in fewer weather-related schedule changes. The Pre-K schedule will run from 7:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. every day of the week.

“Just as we made a commitment to have our SRCA students in person as much as possible last fall, this will carry over to the Junior Academy,” Morgan said, “It will be a significant difference from other county facilities in this regard. time. to closures due to bad weather. “

TOOLS OF THE TRADE – SRCA kindergartens use laptops on a typical school day.

To run a pre-K program, SRCA will hire nine new staff, which includes four teachers, four teaching assistants and a junior academy director, who will be responsible for supervising staff and students, as well as maintaining state compliance.

Each of these new positions will require a board-approved job description before the positions are advertised and filled.

Obtain certificationIn order to be approved to operate a pre-K program, the SRCA facility on Dellwood Road and staff must obtain local certification.

This requires a fire inspection and a sanitary inspection of the installation which is specific to a pre-K program. In addition, training must be arranged with the fire marshal before providing certification.

The Pre-K program would have room for 20 students in a classroom inside the current B Building on campus, with two certified instructors assigned to each class.

Additionally, the junior academy would not receive a star rating until it passed its fire and health inspections.

The more points an installation earns during the inspection, the more stars it gets. Points are assessed based on program standards, staff training and quality of facilities.

“We’re going to open at three stars and hit five stars, which is the maximum,” Morgan said.

Each evaluation is graded on a 5-point scale allowing an establishment to reach a maximum of 15 points. A 3 star program will receive 7 to 9 points; a 4-star program is 10 to 12 points; and a 5-star program will have received 13 to 15 points.

“The rationale for a 5-star program is twofold,” Morgan said. “First, and most important, it is the assurance that our community benefits from the best possible facilities thanks to state measures. Second, each starting level has a different grant payment level. A 5-star institution will receive more funding from the state than a 4-star, which will receive more funding than a 3-star per student. “

In order to receive an indoor star rating, the program must allow 30 square feet of space per child. This does not include shelves and toys, but the state will subtract space for any items that are not in place for students, such as a teacher’s desk.

The outdoor space will also need to provide 100 square feet per child. Additionally, Morgan said the outdoor area of ​​the yard will need to be fenced off due to security requirements. He said the council is currently exploring options for affordable natural playgrounds.

Holston Lowe.JPG

LUNCH TIME – Kindergarten Holston Lowe enjoys his lunch on the first day of school last fall.

Student registration

With high demand for pre-K, the SRCA is planning to hold a lottery for registration, and sibling preference will not be considered.

Haywood County schools have already closed registrations for its Fall Pre-K program, which required a non-refundable registration fee of $ 25. As a result, any parent who registered with schools in Haywood County and decides to enroll in the SRCA’s new Pre-K program would forfeit that $ 25.

The Shining Rock Junior Academy will be considered a paid private facility, meaning parents will pay for the Pre-K out of pocket.

“Since we go down the private pay route, we are able to open our doors to our entire community,” Morgan said. “We can, however, get grants for low-income families who cannot afford the cost of care.”

A grant is a fixed price the government pays at the school for parents who cannot afford the full amount, Morgan explained. The more stars a program receives, the more grants it receives.

The junior academy is required to serve a morning snack, lunch, and an evening snack. SRCA is currently exploring dining options for lunches, which will need to be inspected by the health department.

Student drop-off will take place between 7:15 am and 8:00 am each day. Students will be in class at 8:00 a.m. and student learning will take place from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Student pick-up will take place from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. each day, with the understanding that there will be no instructional time after 3:00 p.m.

The cost of the Shining Rock Junior Academy will be $ 550 per month. The opening schedule will allow the junior academy to accept a grant for those who qualify.

Registration for the junior academy has already started with applications from professors. Registration began Monday, May 17 for families with children who are currently attending SRCA and those who have applied to attend SRCA in the fall.

Registration for the general public will begin on Wednesday, May 19. Applications will be accepted in the order they are received online at and in person at the main office.

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