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4K & Early Childhood

Fax - 715-261-2157

1018 South 12th Avenue
Wausau WI 54401

Kara Rakowski
4K Principal/Early Childhood

Jessica Napiwocki
Administrative Assistant

4K Graduation 2021


Dear Wausau School District Families,

The 4K & Early Childhood staff welcomes you to our programs. I am thrilled to serve as the 4K principal & Early Childhood Coordinator. It is a privilege to lead this learning community during a time of incredible change and tremendous possibilities. Thank you for choosing our program and for the trust you place in us to care for and nurture your child. We are a proud, dedicated, and experienced staff who feel privileged and excited to be part of your first experience in the Wausau School District.

Our program mission is “to provide every child with the foundation to become a lifelong learner through school, family and community partnerships in a safe, caring and enriching environment.”

Our outstanding 4K & Early Childhood staff and I are eager to partner with you to prepare your child for future school success. You will find that we value both the social and academic development of our students. There are many components in getting students “ready to learn.” Children need to know how to communicate their feelings, understand others’ feelings, figure out ways to solve their problems, and make friends. Learning occurs best when our lives are orderly and predictable. Learning routines like how to walk in the hallways, play on the equipment safely, and wait for your turn are all precursors to an organized environment that builds a sense of confidence and security. Finally, helping your child understand and follow our five simple rules is a great way to convey what is expected of them. The rules are great for use at home or school, and we recommend giving specific praise when the rules are followed:

1. Take care of your things

2. Follow directions

3. Quiet voice inside

4. Be kind to others

5. Keep feet and hands to yourself

Our academic content contains a combination of structured and play-based activities designed to be fun and engaging. Our curriculum is based on current research on the early literacy skills that are linked to successful readers. Like the Wausau School District’s elementary K-5 staff, our teachers have advanced training in best practices for both academic (literacy, math, etc.) and social skills. Because of our components of high-quality instruction and advanced training in social skills instruction, our 4K program has been a state demonstration site for other teachers to observe.

The 4K & Early Childhood Programs pride themselves on the school spirit that our active staff, volunteers, and parents create and maintain. We believe that all of us – the school and the community – must work together in an extended family environment to ensure success for all our students. We believe it is everyone’s responsibility to empower children with the creative, intellectual, and decision-making skills necessary for them to become academically, socially, physically, and emotionally successful and responsible.

As the demands and complexities of teaching children increase, it becomes more evident that we all need to work together to ensure that our children reach their potential. To our parents and community, it is essential that you take an active role in our students' success. I encourage you to get involved right away. There is always an opportunity to lend a hand in a myriad of ways. Our parents, teachers, students, and staff work hard to create a respectful, responsible, and safe environment.

With that in mind, you are invited to be an active participant in our 4K programs. Whether you are a classroom volunteer, a member of the PTO, attend our monthly parents at school activity, or participate in our parent-child after-school activities, you are encouraged to be involved. Research on schools clearly demonstrates that parent participation in their child’s school coincides with a greater likelihood of academic success for their child.

It is our desire to keep you informed of all that is taking place at school. We will provide you up-to-date information via your child’s take-home folder, phone calls, group emails, and our bi-weekly newsletter.

Serving as the District 4K principal & Early Childhood Coordinator is as great an honor as it is a responsibility. I believe that the foundation of our future accomplishments is to continue to provide our students with academic experiences that are rigorous and relevant, and that build lasting relationships. It is important that everyone who steps through our doors – staff, students, parents, and community members – are excited to be here. This attitude will allow us to embrace and meet the challenges of academic excellence in a positive and nurturing environment. I look forward to meeting and working with you all.

As we begin this new journey together, we look forward to helping develop your child’s social, emotional, academic, and motor skills. Please let us know how we can partner with you in meeting the needs of your child. If you have questions or concerns that arise at any time, please do not hesitate to give your child’s teacher, the site Principal/Director or me a call. I look forward to developing a positive, rewarding relationship with you and your family.

With your help we can realize our 4K & Early Childhood vision of “I LEARN” which is to provide “Individualized Learning in an environment that is Engaging, Active, Reflective, and Nurturing that includes high expectations for all with family and community collaboration.”

We welcome you as part of our 4K & Early Childhood family!


Kara Rakowski, 4K Principal & Early Childhood Coordinator, and the 4K & EC staff