We are pleased to announce a commitment to the Ottumwa Community School District to support the Pickwick Early Childhood Center.  This grant award includes annual support of 175,000 per year for three years to support the expansion of preschool services. The Pickwick Early Childhood Center will open in August. This state-of-the-art preschool facility will serve three- and four-year-old children in an all day program Monday through Thursday. The building will be open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and serve families who have additional needs beyond the instructional day.

The instructional focus will be extremely strong at the center.  Pickwick’s instructional day will be from 8:10 a.m. to 3:10 p.m., a substantial increase in the number of instructional hours. In past years, students attended class on a half day schedule, with approximately 340 total hours of instruction during a school year.  Pickwick will offer families more than twice the number of hours previously offered.

The program is a partnership between Ottumwa Schools and Sieda Head Start. All students will be served in the classroom without a Head Start or district designation. “All students will be Pickwick students,” said Sarah McGlothlen, Director of Elementary Education. “This comprehensive collaboration of services and funding to meet the needs of our youngest learners is innovative and will allow learning gaps to be addressed before they get so large they become hard to fill. Pickwick’s comprehensive services will include partnerships which will allow families to access community programs onsite.”

“We are excited about the expansion of services to meet the needs of our students and families,” said Nicole Kooiker, superintendent. “The extended instructional day will assist us in closing the student achievement gap and effectively preparing students for kindergarten.”

Our goals in support of the Pickwick Early Childhood Center include the increased proficiency of all students, especially that of reading proficiency by the 3rd grade which has been proven to be a significant indicator of overall student success throughout their education.