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Jones explains Bright Start’s role in education PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 07 February 2018 12:57

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ELLY GRIMM
• Leader & Times



Bright Start Early Learning Center Principal Cindy Jones has worked throughout USD 480 and said in Bright Start’s first year open, things are going great. 


Q: Could you give some background on yourself? (i.e. how long you’ve been with UDS 480, where all you’ve taught, etc.)

A: My husband and I moved to Liberal in 2009, and I was the 6th grade math teacher at Sunflower Intermediate School. I did that for two years and then became the principal at McKinley Elementary School in 2011 and was there until this year, when I became principal at Bright Start. 



Q: With this being Bright Start’s first year open, how has everything been?

A: It’s been awesome. For the teachers, in the past they’ve all been in the outbuildings and their favorite thing, I think if you asked them, is they like being inside the building. They don’t have to take coats on and off when the students have to go in and out, so they really like being in a building. It’s been great. 



Q: With this being Bright Start’s first year, what are some things you and staff have had to learn together as the year’s gone on?

A: We have an interesting and awesome situation here. In this building, we have not only our USD 480 students but we also have HeadStart students in our building. So we share students with HeadStart too, which isn’t new, but it has been interesting with them being in the same building. You can actually enroll a child in USD 480 in Bright Start for the morning and then they’ll go to HeadStart here in the building in the afternoon, and we call those our crossover students. We also have an after-school program for our preschool students this year, which ends at 5:15 p.m., so it’s a full day. 



Q: So has that partnership with HeadStart been beneficial?

A: Absolutely. The main challenge has been scheduling like with family nights, we have to make sure we’re not overlapping, things like that. And we’re actually planning a combined family night with them for later in February here. 



Q: What originally got you interested in education?

A: I ran a day care for several years in my home. I love working with children, I’ve even got four of my own and my husband and I have 19 grandchildren. I wanted to keep working with children and eventually decided it would be a good idea to become a teacher. Then my husband encouraged me into going the administrative route, which I also love. So it’s all been good. 



Q: Did your time running your day care then help you as far as working with the younger students like the age group here at Bright Start? 

A: Absolutely, and I did some educational activities at my day care, so it was a good shift.



Q: What are you looking forward to about the rest of this school year?

A: We have some exciting events coming up that we’re working on and we’re working on some ways to expand the preschool. There’s a lot of activities and programs we’re working on as a staff, like fundraising to get new playground equipment and do some other improvements there, so we’re really excited. 



Q: With the bond project officially completed and all the other work around the district, how do you feel about all the district’s been doing these past few years?

A: I think it’s awesome what the district’s done and what the community has done. I have always felt a school system is extremely important for a community so when all this came about, I was extremely impressed with all the support we got from the community. I think it’s awesome how we got the new schools we really needed. 



Q: Is there anything else you’d like to add or anything else you think would be relevant to put?

A: I’ve got a great staff, we all work well together. Paras and certified staff, we couldn’t do our jobs without the great paras we have because they are awesome. Preschool’s a bit different than other classrooms because we have a para in each room, so you see a lot of learning going on with all the little ones we have here. 

 

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The High Plains Daily Leader and Southwest Daily Times are published Sunday through Friday and reaches homes throughout the Liberal, Kansas retail trade zone. The Leader & Times is the official newspaper of Seward County, USD No. 480, USD No. 483 and the cities of Liberal and Kismet.  The Leader & Times is a member of the Liberal Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Press Association and the Associated Press.

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