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Great Start Readiness Program now offers a variety of preschool class options

Kent ISD – Approval of its budget by Lansing in October has created more flexibility for the Kent ISD Great Start Readiness Program, which has led to the opening of hundreds of spots within the free preschool program.

Kent ISD Director of Early Childhood Ashley Karsten said with the budget approval, the state provided more guidance as to what Great Start Readiness could offer for in-person and remote learning options. The program also has a hybrid option where students attend part-time in-person and part-time virtually. 

Due to slow enrollment at the beginning of the year, Kent ISD made the decision to reduce the number of classes and laid off 36 teachers. Karsten noted the program is currently operating about 58 of its 69 classes. The hope is that by offering more options, enrollment will increase enough to add classes and teachers back, she said. 

“By offering more options that create more flexibility, we hope to be able to accommodate every family’s needs,” Karsten said. 

The Great Start Readiness Program offers preschool to qualifying Kent County families with children turning 4 by Dec. 1. 

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Joanne Bailey-Boorsma
Joanne Bailey-Boorsma
Joanne Bailey-Boorsma covers Kent ISD and Godwin Heights. She was born in the Detroit area but grew up in Brighton where she attended Hartland Public Schools. The salutatorian for the Class of 1985, she changed her colors from blue and maize to green and white by attending Michigan State University, where she majored in journalism and minored in photography and German. She expanded her color palette to include orange and black as both her daughters graduated from Byron Center Public Schools; maroon and white for Aquinas College where her daughter studies nursing and also brought back blue and maize for Grand Rapids Community College where her youngest daughter currently is studying music. Read Joanne's full bio or email Joanne.

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