Representatives from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) were at the El Dorado Springs R-2 Schools on Tuesday, April 24, 2018 to visit the District’s Early Childhood Center. The visit came after a recent Onsite Review of the District’s Parents As Teachers program. The team that had come to El Dorado Springs to conduct the evaluation of the PAT program went back to Jefferson City and were praising the Early Childhood Center and the District’s commitment to Early Learning. As a result of the praise from the Onsite Review Team, DESE decided to send a film crew to interview parents, staff members and administration to use in promotional videos as well as training opportunities around the state. Mr. Mark Koca stated that is the first time in his 7 years as Superintendent for the District that DESE has brought a team to visit a program in El Dorado Springs. Mr. Koca further stated that this was a “very big deal” for our school and the community to be recognized in this manner.

Dr. Chris Neal, Assistant Commissioner for DESE’s Office of Quality Schools was on hand along with Ms. Lana Brooks, Director of Early Learning; Ms. Gretchen Berhorst, Southwest Area Supervisor for Early Learning; and Ms. Emily Sims, Southeast Area Supervisor for Early Learning for interviews and tours of the Early Childhood Center. The team from DESE were given a tour of the Early Childhood Center, visited classrooms, and observed the staff interaction with students during the day. When asked for his thoughts about the District’s Early Childhood Programs, Dr. Neale wrote, ​“It is a real pleasure to see what is happening in early childhood education in the El Dorado Springs R-2 School District. The staff and leadership have a coherent vision for how the programs at the center fit together to serve the needs of these students. The staff is enthusiastic about how this center is helping them help children. In visiting with families, I found them to be very supportive and appreciative. I know that the school has a waiting list for these programs and wants to serve all. I commend them on the progress so far and encourage them as they strive to meet those needs.

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