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Belton preschool classroom gets highest rating in Missouri from grant program

The Belton School District says a classroom at its Grace Early Childhood Center received the highest rating in Missouri after classroom observers visited as part of a preschool grant program.

Belton families can enroll children in a variety of infant, toddler and preschool programs at the Grace center. One classroom there —managed by teacher Kaitlyn Milligan and paraprofessionals Carolyn German and Sarah Hogue —is part of Missouri’s Preschool Program. Because the state funds those classrooms through competitive grants, the classrooms must participate in observations, evaluations and site visits to ensure they are maintaining the program’s standards.

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Belton preschoolers at the Grace Early Childhood Center learn through activities such as clipping coupons and stitching with yarn. Submitted

At the most recent site visit, the three staff members and their students earned a rating of 6.58 out of the 7 possible points, the highest in the state.

The classroom is in the third year of a five-year grant cycle. Milligan, Hogue and German must renew each year and submit new program goals, proposed budgets and other supportive data.

“The financial support has given us access to high-quality professional development —guest speakers, attend conferences and more to improve the skills of all Grace staff,” Milligan said. “We’ve also been able to purchase large items that benefit everyone at Grace: a teepee, mud kitchen, as well as playground musical instruments. Finally, the grant supports us in purchasing general materials and supplies, funds for our family activities like the carnival, and our salaries.”

Health department offers immunizations

School is about to start, and some kids need to get their immunizations updated.

The Raymore-Peculiar School District reports that Back to School Immunization Clinics will be provided by the Cass County Health Department from 8 to 11:30 a.m. and from 1:30 to 6 p.m. Aug. 5-8 and Aug. 12-15 at the health department office, 300 S. Main St. in Harrisonville.

The cost is $10 for one shot and $20 for two or more shots, according to the health department website. The clinics are for school age children only. No appointments are needed.

Ray-Pec vocalists perform in state honor choirs

Raymore-Peculiar students from middle school and up performed in mid-July with other top singers around the state as part of the Missouri Choral Directors Association Youth Honor Choirs. The students were selected by recorded audition:

9th and 10th grade honor choir: Payton Ballinger, Carinne Williams, Jonah Hagelin, Meghan Larsen and Claire Eberhart. All are from Ray-Pec High School.

7th and 8th grade honor choir: Dalton Ballinger, LaNyah Taylor and Destinee Shaffer from South Middle School; and Noah Smith, Maddie Klein, Katie Barber, Morgan Blair, Tallie Scott and Bailey Roe from East Middle School.

4th-6th grade honor choir: Jaylan Bentley, Elizabeth Burton, Mariah Kingman and Ashley Davis from South Middle School; and Evan Vlasak, Mason Rew, Dinah Hodgson, Hayden Williams, Annalise Busse, Serena Bursley and Ellie McRill from East Middle School.

How seaworthy is your cardboat boat?

The Harrisonville Wildcat football team will host the second annual Cardboard Boat Races on Aug. 11, when teams will race their vessels —made only of cardboard and duct tape —about 50 yards into a lake and back to shore.

Winners will be named for the fastest boat, the judge’s choice and the people’s choice.

And the first boat to sink will earn the Titanic moniker.

The races begin at 6 p.m. at City Park, 706 Ash St., and are open to the public both as participants and spectators. No registration is required.

Businesses, families and organizations are invited to build a boat to participate. For information on race rules and procedures, visit