MT. VERNON — Mt. Vernon Township High School officials say their recent decision to place the district’s TLC Preschool program on an alternating year schedule was based, in part, on declining student interest.
The preschool program gives Career Technical Education students at MVTHS the chance to work with young children or observe pre-K classes to gain educational experience.
However, Superintendent Michael Smith said fewer MVTHS students are signing up for the preschool CTE class and more students have expressed an interest in classes for teaching older children.
The preschool will now only be offered every other year instead of annually.
“They’re still wanting to learn about the (teaching) profession, but as it relates to teaching older-aged kids,” Smith said. “It’s a CTE elective. Those are always based on interest.”
Principal Wes Olson said only about 15 MVTHS students had signed up for the preschool CTE class for the 2014-2015 school year.
That compares to about 30 students who signed up for the CTE education class focusing on older children for next year.
Another factor in the district’s preschool decision was the recent introduction of a new CTE fashion occupations class. About 30 students have signed up for this class for 2014-2015.
In order to keep offering preschool every year, as well as the fashion class and elementary education course, a new part-time CTE teacher would have to be hired, Smith said. Hiring another teacher is not financially feasible for the district at this point, he said.
“We work on doing things the most cost-effective way,” Smith said. “We have to look at the emotional side of offering the (preschool) program and we have to also look at the overall number of students served, the overall cost-effectiveness, the economics of the situation.”
The preschool issue came up for discussion at Monday’s meeting of the MVTHS Board of Education. At that time, several MVTHS faculty members spoke out against the district’s decision to change the preschool schedule.