ST. CLOUD -- The St. Cloud Rotary Club's Preschool 4 Success initiative is already seeing some impressive results.

The Rotary partnered with District 742 and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Minnesota to help get more kids access to preschool.

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Rotary spokesman Gary Marsden says this program is already making a huge impact in just its first year.

We got this program launched, plans are in place for next year and the evidence shows that preschool affects overall educational performance and graduation rates. That's why this program is so important.

Marsden says they have raised over $100,000 to help fund the program for about two years.

District 742 Executive Director of Teaching and Learning Lori Posch says every year they have roughly 200 three and four-year-old's on their preschool waiting list.

She says despite some challenges, the students who participated gained a year of valuable learning.

We were not able to fill all four sections like we hoped, but transportation was a big part of that and we are working on some solutions. However, the students and teachers that were part of the program had a great year.

Posch says next year the district plans to add more classroom space in their elementary schools and at Quarryview to accommodate the program and help eliminate the transportation barriers.

Rotary spokeswoman Gayla Holmgren Hoeller says while this project was new for the Rotary Club, their leadership team has taken the feedback this year to make necessary improvements for next year.

One of the positives for this program next year is the additional space for the program within district buildings. We are even looking at possibly expanding this program to include three-year-old's.

Hoeller says the St. Cloud Rotary Clubs larger goal is for universal funding for preschool at the state level, which they plan to be actively involved in lobbying for.

The Rotary Club continues to look for community members who would like to sponsor a child with a $500 scholarship.

The Rotary Club Scholarship Fund
PO Box 713
St. Cloud, MN 56302


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