Gov. Polis reads to Fraser Valley Elementary students |

Gov. Polis reads to Fraser Valley Elementary students

Visit highlights importance of early education

Fraser Valley Elementary School’s two kindergarten classes, taught by Laurie Ciccarelli and Lindsay Jarzynka, were treated to a reading of “Turkey Trouble” by Governor Jared Polis this morning.

Polis visited the school Wednesday to tour the space and read to students before he spoke to students briefly about the importance of education and early childhood programs in particular.

“Preschool and kindergarten are so important and you all are able to go to kindergarten, which is so wonderful, and now every kid in Colorado can go to kindergarten,” Polis said.

Prior to the storytelling session, two student council members, fourth-grader Ella Hawkins and fifth-grader Forrest Cramer, showed Polis around the school, highlighting some of the projects they’ve been working on, including collecting over 1,000 items for a food drive.

Cramer and Hawkins also honored Polis with a S.O.A.R. slip and bracelet to thank him for his work supporting education on behalf of all Coloradans. S.O.A.R. is Fraser Valley Elementary’s new motto that stands for safety, ownership, acceptance and responsibility.

Hawkins said it was “really cool” to meet the governor and show him some of student council’s hard work. 

Polis also spoke with Principal James Chamberlin about the recent funding for full-day kindergarten across the state and the expansion of the Colorado Preschool Program.

While East Grand School District already offered full-day kindergarten prior to the state initiative, Chamberlin said it has increased funding for the program.

“In the past, we had been subsidizing the other half of the day and … we offered it because we believe it’s critically important,” he said. “It was coming out of the general fund.”

The Colorado Preschool Program expansion has also provided relief in the county by allowing private preschools who meet the required standards to accept students in need at no fee to the family.

“CPP spots go to students who have the most need in Colorado,” Chamberlin explained. “What (Polis’) expansion allowed us to do is bring in private preschools for community partnerships.”

In 2019, Granby Elementary Preschool and Fraser Valley Elementary Preschool were two of just 92 preschool programs in the state to receive the highest quality rating in the Colorado Shines system.

Before Polis left, Chamberlin also updated him on the East Grand School District’s BEST Grant, which includes money for new security technology, such as cameras and an updated intercom system, as well as a secure new entrance for the school.

Chamberlin said he expects some preliminary work to be started over the holiday and spring breaks, with construction beginning in June.

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