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Two schools to offer full-day transitional kindergarten

A full-day, two-year transitional kindergarten program going into effect this fall is one of two new programs being developed by schools in the Omaha Catholic School Consortium.

Holy Cross and St. Thomas More schools in Omaha, two of the five elementary schools in the consortium, are introducing transitional kindergarten for the 2017-18 school year.

And Our Lady of Lourdes and Ss. Peter and Paul schools, also in Omaha, are preparing to introduce in the 2018-19 school year an English-Spanish dual language immersion program. That effort will begin with preschool, prekindergarten, transitional kindergarten and kindergarten, with another grade added each year, following the students through their eighth-grade graduations.

Parents interested in the programs should contact the schools, or the archdiocese’s Catholic Schools Office at 402-557-5600, said Donna Bishop, assistant superintendent of schools.

Both programs can serve as models for other schools to adopt – including fellow consortium school St. Bernadette in Bellevue – as they see fit, Bishop said.

The transitional kindergarten program at St. Thomas More and Holy Cross will be geared to children who are eligible but are not ready for kindergarten either academically, socially or both. The program is in high demand in public schools, Bishop said.

"The benefits of transitional kindergarten set students up for success long-term as they have less anxiety, less need for remedial services," Bishop said.

There is room for more students at both schools, but already St. Thomas More has 14 and Holy Cross has 22 students enrolled for the fall, Bishop said.

And a May 16 information session for the Spanish-English dual immersion program planned for Our Lady of Lourdes and Ss. Peter and Paul schools drew 35 people, Bishop said.

Both programs will help students benefit from faith-based education at Catholic schools, said Patrick Slattery, superintendent of schools.

"Our goal is to uniquely enrich the whole child in a faith-based setting, while continually building upon the academic success of Catholic school," he said.

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