Chassell School District to start pre-school program in the fall

CHASSELL — Pre-kindergartners in the Chassell School District will soon be getting a jump start on education. Plans are in the works that would start a pre-school program in the fall, replacing the Head Start program that has been absent from the school for several years.

Currently,  it’s a K through 12 school, however at the start of a new school year it will be a pre-K through 12 facility. Amy Rantamackie is the teacher and director of the program and she is spending a good part of her summer remodeling the classroom that will welcome the return of preschoolers.

“I’m just going to tackle it a little bit at a time and get it painted and decorated so it’s a comfortable place for these little guys to explore all of their options and imagine and create and build forts or whatever they would be doing if they could be at home,” said Rantamackie.

The program came about after she inquired with Superintendent Howard Parmentier as to why the district didn’t have a pre-school program. Although the school did offer Head Start at one time, it came to a halt nearly a decade ago due to a lack of enrollment and derivative funding.

“We weren’t able to fulfill all of the grant requirements for it to be funded and he said since then there’s has been no one who could run it as a private licensed daycare preschool,” she said.

Amy says that before the conversation ended, the superintendent asked her if she wanted to start such a program at the school. Rantamackie, is a mother of 7, making her an obvious choice for the position.

“I would hope that the experience would help me be able to know the kids and understand their needs,” she said.

Licensing is still in the works and there are many things still needed to prepare for for the upcoming school year. In accordance with education requirements, renovations to the exterior of the class room would be needed as well, replacing this black-top surface with a sand turf and a fenced in play area.

“We’ve already received a few really nice donations and I’m very thankful for the help we’ve received from the community. The playground, the fencing alone, the equipment, will be an expense for the school and we want to try to keep a debt free operation and we want to help support the school if we can,” said Rantamackie.

Enrollment and donations toward the program can be made by contacting the school office. The Enthusiastic teacher says she’s excited for her new endeavor.

“You know, I just think Chassell School is a really special place and I’m really happy to be a part of what’s going on here to help the school.”