Pre-school and kindergarten rock
by Ed Donovan
LA VETA — Listen up boys and girls… we are so proud of our pre-school and kindergarten! This year we have 18 pre-schoolers and 12 kindergartners.
Directed by our pre-school lead teacher, Celine Richwine, we are working hard to achieve 5 stars from the Colorado Shines’ Qualistar program that accredits Colorado public pre-schools. We won’t be able to reach all the way to 5 stars until we build a new facility. We can’t wait to receive good news on our BEST grant.
Celine joined the La Veta faculty in the spring of 2017, bringing a wealth of experience and expertise to our school. She grew up and went to college in Dayton, Ohio. She moved around quite a bit to advance her education, but spent a large portion of her career in Denver as a trainer of pre-school teachers. If you visit her classroom or volunteer to help, you will witness an excellent, dedicated teacher whose highest priority is the children for whom she is responsible. Just take a look at the faces of her students, busy in the classroom, and you will know about the quality of our pre-school teachers.
Working beside Celine is our paraprofessional, Christina Guadagnoli. Christina joined our faculty five years ago. She moved to La Veta from Dallas, Texas, and has two daughters who attend La Veta Schools. Christina is working on her bachelor’s degree while also learning a lot from Celine. Christina believes that our pre-school’s application of the Reggio Theory of student learning is making a big difference. She thinks of our school as a community within a community, emphasizing the importance of the teachers and parents working together to prepare students to be successful in kindergarten.
Speaking of kindergarten, our kindergarten teacher is Nina Schneider. Nina joined our faculty as a teacher’s aide in 2006. She was a substitute in Gardner before coming to La Veta. In 2008, she received her alternative licensure with a focus on special education. Our school is so proud that Nina recently completed the course work and received her masters in education, with a focus on culturally and linguistically challenged students.
Nina reports that one of the things she likes about teaching in La Veta is the leadership provided by our administration. She believes the ordering of priorities as family and personal health first allows our teachers to give their best efforts to improve student outcomes at our school. Nina focuses on getting her students ready to succeed when they enter first grade.
She believes that an emphasis on social and emotional development is a very important part of her work. Although half of our kindergarten students live outside of the La Veta district, Nina is always looking for ways to connect and work with her students’ families to achieve the best student outcomes.
Bottom line, there’s always room for improvement; but the La Veta Board of Education believes that our pre-school and kindergarten are doing a terrific job and working hard to be a “model for rural education in Colorado”.