De Pere school program offers free childcare

The program also offers children support in literacy and math
With more kids on a waiting list, organizers hope to find funding to keep the program next year
Published: Sep. 7, 2023 at 5:57 AM CDT|Updated: Sep. 7, 2023 at 11:18 AM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

DE PERE, Wis. (WBAY) - A new program in the De Pere school district is giving many parents access to free childcare before and after school, plus providing support in literacy and math.

It’s called Redbird Ready. It’s at three elementary schools, including Dickinson.

It’s an effort between the director of elementary curriculum and several other staff members. There’s also a partnership with University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s School of Education, where students there will help teach the program since there is a teacher shortage.

There are currently 200 students enrolled in it across the three sites, and there’s a waitlist right now for this school year.

”We’ve always known that there is a need for before and after school programming, but to make it an enrichment-type of thing and support students at the elementary level is a win-win situation,” Director of Elementary Curriculum and Instruction Kathy Van Pay said.

“We have activities planned in enrichment for math, literacy, and social emotional learning,” Jenna Sether, a school psychologist for the district, said. “For our social emotional learning, we have a specific curriculum designed for our after-school care that has fun activities and work on specific skills.”

Jenna Wingert is a 4K coordinator. She said, “We’ve received a lot of feedback from families that they’re really grateful, one that they have that after-school programming, and then two that their kids are going to have access to a lot of resources and programs that they otherwise might not have access to.”

The Unified School District of De Pere is paying for this program with ESSER-III funding, which is short-term funding to address issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The district hopes to offer the Redbird Ready program again next year, but that will depend on funding from the state and federal government or potentially a voter referendum.

200 students are enrolled at 3 elementary schools for before- and after-school care with literacy and math training