Madison-Champaign ESC preschool classrooms receive 5-Star ratings


By Cathy Pappas



The Madison-Champaign ESC is proud to announce that each of our preschool classrooms have been audited by ODE’s Step Up To Quality efforts and have received a 5-star rating, the highest rating granted by ODE. At this point, the Madison-Champaign ESC’s Champaign County program is the only program in the county that has received this status. This is a source of deep pride and it reflects the high quality of our programming. This audit reviews curriculum, planning, child screening/assessment, classroom interactions, staff supports, staff management, transition practices, family communication/engagement and community partnerships. The 5-star rating clearly points to the confidence of our programming and dedication all staff members feel to represent the ESC well by providing quality preschool experiences to the districts we serve.

The Madison-Champaign Educational Service Center (MCESC) operates nine preschool classrooms housed in four districts within Champaign County: Urbana City Schools, West Liberty-Salem, Triad Local and Mechanicsburg Village Exempted Schools. Urbana students are served at 2 locations: Local Intermediate (currently there are five classrooms in this location) and East Elementary (one classroom). There is one classroom at Triad Elementary School, one classroom at West Liberty-Salem Elementary School (solely for Champaign County residents), and Mechanicsburg students are served within one classroom located in the Dohron Wilson Elementary School. Each classroom employs an Early Childhood Intervention Specialist, as well as, a Highly-Qualified Paraprofessional. Each of these programs are licensed by Ohio Department of Education (ODE), where specific and strenuous guidelines related to Staff Credentials, Trainings, Policies and Procedures are reviewed. ODE consultants conduct an audit during an unannounced classroom visit during the school year.

Programming is offered to typically developing students, as well as, student who have an identified area of delay that has led to the implementation of an Individualized Education Program (IEP). With the exception of programming at Triad, each location has half-day programming that is three hours in length Monday-Thursday. At Triad, students attend in a full-day/alternating day schedule. Each session has up to eight students that are typically developing and eight students on IEPs. With the inclusion of two Early Childhood Education grants from Ohio Department of Education that focuses on the inclusion of typically developing students in our classrooms, preschool programming focuses on providing educational challenges to all students regardless of their ability levels. The program is focused on Kindergarten readiness for all students, moving them forward in all areas of development regardless of where they started at preschool entry.

Though the program originally solely focused on meeting the educational needs of the “Special Needs” population, this is no longer the case. Each student undergoes a Developmental Screening, which allows the Preschool Supervisor to make an appropriate placement based on the child’s chronological age and developmental status. From there, testing may occur if warranted which may lead to the implementation of the IEP. For those students who are on IEPs, no tuition is charged and bussing is provided by the district. For those students determined to be typically developing, tuition is charged based on a sliding fee scale. There are currently three fee schedules that range from no charge to ”full pay” status of $165 per month. In between, there is a broad “reduced pay” status which is $78 per month. Transportation is provided based on each district’s policies. The program benefits from having each of these populations of students where each student forms strong peer relationships in an atmosphere where all students learn respect and develop a love for learning.

The Preschool Programming for the Madison-Champaign ESC works closely with Help Me Grow to foster a smooth transition from services provided birth-3 years of age. They also work closely with the involved school districts when transitioning students to Kindergarten/School-Age programming. One of the program’s goals is to continue to support families and students as they embark on these important educational transitions. The program prides itself in employing high quality teachers, many of whom hold their Master’s Degrees. Partnering with these teachers are very capable Paraprofessionals as well as Speech-Language Pathologists, Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists, School Psychologists. As the Preschool Supervisor, I consider myself very blessed to work with such quality-oriented staff members who share the same focus of empowering each child forward toward success in their school-age endeavors in a team-oriented approach. Additionally, there is an Itinerant teacher that serves students enrolled in area daycare/preschool programs.

The Kindergarten Readiness Assessment scores is completed early in the Kindergarten school year. An analysis of scores for those students who participated in preschool instruction by the MCESC Preschool received scores that exceeded the cut-off score that predicts Kindergarten success. The preschool years are very crucial building blocks for future learning due to the tremendous brain development that is occurring during a child’s early years. Though preschool is not mandated in Ohio, it is very important given the ever expanding Kindergarten expectations.

Our programming, falling under the guidance of Ohio Department of Education, incorporates the Early Learning and Development Standards into daily curriculum practices. Our curriculum is Creative Curriculum-5th Edition which is aligned with these standards. This curriculum focuses on the foundational skills required within the Kindergarten Standards. Families are provided with grade cards twice a year. Opportunities are provided to families to partner with us in their child’s learning. Volunteers are welcome to join activities with prior notice to the teachers/supervisor.

Currently there are still openings for our classrooms in Urbana and West Liberty-Salem (Champaign County). If interested in more information or to schedule a tour, please contact Cathy Pappas (Preschool Supervisor) or Tracey Wilson (Case Manager) at 937-653-5214.

By Cathy Pappas

Cathy Pappas is Preschool Supervisor for the Madison-Champaign Educational Service Center.

Cathy Pappas is Preschool Supervisor for the Madison-Champaign Educational Service Center.