Parents frustrated with school program; district defending it

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by ADAM MERTZ / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on September 4, 2013 at 6:11 PM

POULSBO, Wash.- Several parents are voicing concerns about a school program designed to help struggling students in the North Kitsap School District, but district officials say the program is working.
 
April Ferguson enrolled her 5-year-old son Michael at Poulsbo Elementary because he has trouble communicating with others.
 
"Michael has very limited language because he has a learning delay," said Ferguson.
 
The North Kitsap School District has an intensive support program at three schools to help children struggling to keep up with other students. In the program, students split time between a regular classroom and individual instruction, according to a district official.
 
Ferguson said her son was immediately separated from his class on the first day of school.
 
"They put him down on the ground with toys, cars, for his first day of kindergarten. He had no different than a daycare," said Ferguson.

Ferguson also said the program is understaffed. She added that several other parents are concerned because they expected more instructors.

There are two full time teachers and six paraeducators at each of the three schools, according to the district. District official Tim Garrison said they are always evaluating the program and looking for ways to improve.
 
"The idea is to get kids caught up as much as we can while they are young so that we can get them hopefully towards graduation," said Garrison.
 
Garrison added they will work with parents to address any concerns.

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