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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 is a reporter covering Kent ISD, Godwin Heights, Kelloggsville, Forest Hills and Comstock Park. The salutatorian for the Hartland Public Schools 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. Joanne moved to the Grand Rapids area in 1989, where she started her journalism career at the Advance Newspapers. She later became the editor for On-the-Town magazine, a local arts and entertainment publication. Her eldest daughter is a nurse, working in Holland, and her youngest attends Oakland University. Both are graduates from Byron Center High School. She is a volunteer for the Van Singel Fine Arts Advisory Board and the Kent District Library. In her free time, Joanne enjoys spending time with her family, checking out local theater and keeping up with all the exchange students they have hosted through the years. Read Joanne's full bio


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