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Thinking about college begins early at Lake Forest Elementary; budget hearing scheduled

Even pre-K students at Lake Forest Elementary Charter School are introduced to the idea of eventually going to college, principal Mardele Early told her board at its meeting May 14.

In other news, the school has scheduled its annual budget hearing for 12:30 p.m., June 18, in the campus library. The board’s regular meeting will follow, at 1:30 p.m.

The school has now finished standardized testing, and is wrapping up for the year. LEAP and iLEAP results for the school’s fourth and eighth grades were scheduled to arrive May 16, Early told the board.

She said she expects an enrollment of about 550 next year, and when the school transitions to its new building on Lake Forest Boulevard, it plans to employ three teachers for each grade level, she added.

Early described a project by Lake Forest students and their parents to research and possibly visit colleges. She showed members a poster produced by a third-grade student with information on a university, and said she tries to expose students to seven or eight colleges during their time at the school.

At least 25 students are interested in Juilliard, the famous school for fine arts in New York City, and eight are looking at universities outside the country. She said that even gifted pre-K students took part in the project to research college options.

The PTO sponsored a teacher and staff appreciation week, May 5-9. Parents were sent letters advising them of thank-you presents they could provide staff, such as personal notes, gift cards, flowers or candy.

The school is planning another fundraising event, Cocktails and Blues, Oct. 11 in Lakefront Airport’s Walnut Room. Director of development Joshua Fertitta said the patron party before the event will be a sit-down dinner and will include presentation of the Community Hero awards.

The school is expanding its alumni outreach efforts, Fertitta said. An “Alumni Connect” survey has been added to the charter’s website. Fertitta said that, although it is unusual for alumni to stay connected to an elementary school, he received about 20 responses before the alumni section had been advertised or even announced.

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