116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — Before- and after-school care is being added to two half-day preschool programs in the Iowa City Community School District with hopes to expand it to more.
While the program will initially only be tried at Wickham and Shimek Elementary Schools during the 2022-23 school year, Superintendent Matt Degner said he hopes the district will be able to eventually expand it to all of the district’s 21 elementaries.
“Half-day programs don’t work for a lot of families,” Degner said during a school board meeting earlier this year. “We’re creating a model that can be sustainable, and we’re excited about the potential and opportunity.”
Lisa Glenn, director of special education services, said programs with before and after school care make preschool more accessible to families who can’t drop off and pick up their children during work hours.
The Iowa City Community School District offers 42 sections of preschool in its schools with around 600 preschool students enrolled. Morning programs are offered Monday through Friday from 7:55 to 10:45 a.m. Afternoon programs are offered Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from noon to 2:55 p.m.
Full-day programs are offered at Twain and Hills Elementary Schools for income-eligible families residing in those attendance areas.
Wickham Elementary, 601 Oakdale Blvd., Coralville, and Shimek Elementary, 1400 Grissel Place, Iowa City, already offer half-day preschool programs. Before- and after-school care there will begin in the 2022-23 school year. The sites will operate from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. About 20 students will be enrolled at each site.
The cost will be $120 per week for morning preschool with before- and after-school care and $130 a week for afternoon preschool with before- and after-school care.
Applications for preschool opened earlier this year.
Tuesday, the Iowa City Board of Education approved KCE Champions LLC to provide before- and after-school care for the Wickham and Shimek programs.
The Iowa City Community School District started using Champions for before- and after-school programs in 2019. Champions currently is operating in four Iowa City schools and serves about 100 students in each building.
KCE Champions also was approved as the before- and after-school care provider for the Cedar Rapids Community School District’s new Truman Early Childhood Center.
Champions serves more than 40,000 children in 21 states.
Its before- and after-school programs curriculum for K-6 focuses on social-emotional skills, executive-function skills and inquiry-based learning. Its preschool curriculum for 3- and 4-year-olds helps students build confidence and encourage them to become problem solvers and lifelong learners.
Nearly 1 in 4 Iowans live in a “child care desert,” including nearly 35 percent of rural Iowans, where they can’t find openings, according to the state’s child care task force. The average monthly cost of child care in Iowa — $1,031 — is more than the cost of housing for the average Iowa family, according to a report last year from the child care task force.
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