TEA, S.D. (KELO) — The Sioux Empire United Way will begin its 2021 fundraising campaign next month. The organization supports dozens of communities in KELOLAND in a variety of ways including a Ready To Start program for young students.
Ready to Start teacher Tracy Schmidt just wrapped up five weeks of getting kids ready to start kindergarten. From phonics to handwriting, math skills and more, she says it makes a big difference come fall.
“They’re not only academically, socially ready, they’re also ready to just sit and learn and play with their friends,” Schmidt said.
The program here in Tea has been going on for seven years and is made possible thanks to $21,000 from the Sioux Empire United Way.
“From what we have seen over the last seven years is the growth has been amazing. Whether it was academic, social, whether it was a behavior, when they go to school that first week there’s not that issue,” Schmidt said.
“We host Ready to Start here at Legacy but there are three elementaries here in Tea. Venture, Frontier and Legacy students all attended the Ready to Start program this year,” Walder said.
Legacy Elementary Principal Samantha Walder and Schmidt say three sections of twelve students took part and the district adhered to CDC guidelines to keep students safe. The school year in Tea begins August 19.
“We had to change some things like just having the kids sit at different spots a little bit more spaced out and those kind of things. I felt like this year was very smooth,” Schmidt said.
“I can’t wait to see students back in our building. It’s going to look a little different but we’ve worked very hard this summer. We have tremendous support from our community, our school board and all of our teachers and I think this is going to be a great year,” Walder said.
Tea Area School District is one of six districts that offer Ready to Start.