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Cassville R-IV Looks to Increase PAT Participation

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58584333296d8Veronica Gemmecke and her daughter, Joey, take advantage of the PAT program provided by Cassville R-IV.
Left to right: Challie Allison, Pam Ralls and Nola Nickols.
Veronica Gemmecke and her daughter, Joey, take advantage of the PAT program provided by Cassville R-IV.

In an effort to increase the number of prekindergarten children served in the Cassville area, the Cassville R-IV School District has increased staff support for the program by providing two stipends for parent educators of the Parents as Teachers (PAT) program.

PAT includes Challie Allison, Special Services secretary, Nola Nickols, third grade teacher at Cassville Intermediate and Pam Ralls, preschool teacher at Cassville Primary. Both Nickols and Ralls were added as PAT parent educators in December of this year and are currently completing required training for this position. Allison has been serving as the PAT parent educator for over ten years.

Nickols and Ralls will continue serving in their current teaching positions with the school district and will be responsible for their PAT duties before or after school.

The PAT program provides educational services to parents and children from birth to school age. Services include home visits, group meetings, yearly screenings and educational parent resources.

“While the PAT program has a strong, long standing history in the Cassville School system, we are excited to add additional staff support. We hope the addition of staff allows us to serve more families in our community,” said Catherine Weaver, Eunice Thomas Elementary Principal.

“Many of our PAT visits take place in the evening or after hours, so it will be beneficial to the program to have these three talented and well trained ladies leading the way and working together to teach our smallest wildcats.”

In addition to years of educational career experience, Allison, Nickols and Ralls must complete an almost two week training through the National PAT program that includes studying the development of children ranging in ages from birth to three years and model implementation training.

PAT offers personal one-on-one visits, parent and child group meetings, developmental screenings, helpful resources for parents and children and information and tips regarding child development and growth.

According to the National PAT program, children involved in the program are significantly more advanced in development by age three and score higher on school standardized tests.

PAT is a free service for children in the Cassville school district.

“The PAT program is designed to support not only the growing child, but also the parents,” stated Weaver. “We know that ninety percent of all development occurs in the first five years of life. Parents have a crucial role in their child’s education at any age, but especially during this time of his or her life. This program provides a hands-on approach to teaching parents the best way to aide their child during this time.”

Interested families can sign-up by contacting the primary office at 417.847.2445 or by stopping by the office Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m.