Wilk tours McGrath Elementary, hears from faculty about early childhood education

State Senator Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, reads a story to children during his visit to Dr. J. Michael McGrath Elementary School, Feb. 8, 2019. Caleb Lunetta / The Signal.

During a visit to Dr. J. Michael McGrath Elementary School Friday, State Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, sat down with students and faculty alike to discuss the latest needs and developments in early childhood education.

During the sit-down meeting, Wilk spoke with the school administrators in charge of Child360, a nonprofit that works with McGrath Elementary teachers to coach them on how to provide high-quality early childhood education, according to the nonprofit’s CEO Bill Sperling.

Wilk said that after speaking with the group, he gained more insight into the complexity of early childhood education and the standard usage of administrative time and resources.

“It’s too complex and we’re leaving money on the table, and we could get more resources into the classroom if it wasn’t so complicated,” Wilk said. “We’re trying to lift up the next generation of our society (and) most of these students know English as a second language, and there’s an achievement gap. It’s important that we lift up all people so that it makes us all stronger.”

After hearing from their teachers in the school library, Wilk was then invited to come and see the Newhall District State Preschool located on McGrath’s campus.

McGrath preschool teacher Melissa Herrera said Wilk coming to the school to hear what faculty had to say was important, especially if it means teachers, like herself, can acquire more funds for professional development courses

“I’m sure almost every teacher would say it’s important to attend conferences and seminars so that we can stay current and up to date,” she said.

Wilk noted, with everything that he had heard during his visit, he will be interested in seeing what the state Legislature’s Blue Ribbon Commission, a Sacramento body devoted to early childhood education within the state, finds in their final report set to be released in April.

“If you look at the data, it’s incredibly important that kids get educational services,” Wilk said. “Hopefully, the (commission) has some recommendations on how we can streamline funding sources so we can get those resources to the kids.”

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