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MATTOON -- Franklin School will have a tuition-based program for the next school year that will also serve as a hands-on instructional piece of a Mattoon High School program. 

Currently, a need-based program is in place, but this tuition-based program has an open enrollment; however, it is limited, according to Mattoon officials. Applications are being taken now. There are 40 open spots for the program. 

This program is scheduled five days per week, starting in August and running through May, officials say. It will include two sessions -- one from 8:30-11:30 a.m. and another from 12:30-3 p.m. Before and after care will also be available through the Mattoon Area Family YMCA from 7-8:30 a.m. and 3:30-5 p.m.

Tuition for the program is $300 per month per child and requires a $100 deposit per child enrolled to ensure a spot.

The program requires the preschool applicant be at least 3 years old and toilet trained.

More information on the program will be discussed at a future orientation later this month. An orientation and tour at Franklin Preschool has been scheduled at 6-7 p.m. Jan. 24 to allow prospective families a chance to come and visit the facility and ask any further questions, if necessary. A presentation regarding the program itself will be given from 6-6:15 p.m. and a tour of the building will be given from 6:15-6:30 p.m. 

In case of inclement weather, the date for this event will be Jan. 31 from 6-7 p.m.

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Lisa Jaco, Franklin preschool principal, said the school had gotten numerous requests to open up the current preschool, and she said this was simply the right time to do it. 

It also tied in well with the competency based pilot the school district and others have been taking part in. The program also is open to high school students looking to get into early education as their career. 

These high school students will be enrolling in dual credit curriculum through Lake Land College. Up to 40 students enrolled in family and consumer science early childhood development courses for these students. 

Christy Hild, Student Services director, said this is part of several new programs and courses the school district has been setting up to better prepare students under this competency based program for a career outside high school.

This program has several pieces, only one of which includes having curriculum reach outside the classroom.

According to the ISBE, the competency based model is centered on modernizing education to better focus on college and career preparation. Another piece of this model is the change to the progression structure in the classroom to a more personalized model. 

More information on the Franklin program can be found by calling Erin Clifford, MHS teacher heading up the high school curriculum portion of this new addition to the district, at 217-238-7859. 

Contact Jarad Jarmon at (217) 238-6839. Follow him on Twitter: @JJarmonReporter

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