Archive for Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Task force will study all-day kindergarten

November 15, 2005


Lawrence school board members on Monday agreed to form a task force to explore ways to bring back all-day kindergarten.

"All-day kindergarten needs to be available for all families," said Vicki Penner, site council president at New York School, addressing the board.

Budget shortfalls forced board members to drop the popular program about four years ago, prompting a return to half-day kindergarten.

Since the switch, Penner said, many families can no longer afford to not have both parents in the workforce. Half-day kindergarten, she said, makes it difficult to for these parents to find and keep jobs.

"What if you're a waitress?" she said afterward. "No one's going to let you take off at noon to pick up your kindergartner or take your kindergartner to school."

New York School Principal Nancy DeGarmo endorsed Penner's request that a task force be formed. "This is a grassroots effort," she said. "It's not just parents who want it. It's teachers, too."

Through proposed by the New York School Site Council, a move to all-day kindergarten would apply to elementary schools throughout the district.

Supt. Randy Weseman, a longtime proponent of all-day kindergarten, will lead the task force.

Weseman said he would have some proposals for the board to consider by year's end.

"If we dropped it in districtwide, we'd have to hire 23 teachers. It would cost us well over a million dollars," Weseman said. "We can't do that, obviously. Maybe we can phase it in or do some other things."


Nikki May 12 years, 6 months ago

They already studied this 4 years ago. They concluded that all day was the way to go, and then cut all the all day programs. Maybe people should spend less money studying things and more on doing things.

Kookamooka 12 years, 6 months ago

Some doctors have Physicians Assistants...why couldn't the schools have Kindergarten Teaching Assistants who work with the kids 1/2 day. They wouldn't have to be certified, just have the qualifications required for substitutes or paraeducators, or early childhood experience. Then the "instructional" part of kindergarten happens just as it would have on the 1/2 day system and the rest of the day is spent in "specials" (PE, Library, Music, Art) and other curriculuarly supportive activities. Gosh, when you think about it...with lunch and a few've got a full day.

SAHM2tylrnathan 12 years, 6 months ago

No offense wendt, but nobody "took" me out of the workforce to take care of my own kids. I think all-day programs are great if you need your kids to be watched because you simply can't make it without the money. I can't imagine how single parents can make it without programs like that. But there is a great honor and satisfaction in having and making the choice to give up some things in exchange for being the one who stays home and raises children. I realize not everyone is lucky enough to make it on one income and I appreciate that I have the choice. It's also nice to not have to argue over who takes off work when the kids are inevitably sick or out of school.

If those kindergartners (remember, these are 5- and 6- year-olds) ride the bus, what time does their work day start and end? We adults complain about our long work day sometimes, maybe it's tough on the little ones who work the same hours even if we call some of it playtime. No kid will ever graduate from high school wishing he had been able to spend more time with his teachers.

And Kookamooka, what you describe is what they have in Shawnee. Parks and rec handles the half day that is not school even though it is in the school building. They also run their program all day when the kids are out of school, meaning mom and dad don't have to take time off for inservice days.

There are days when I wish my son had all day K--being an at-home parent is the hardest work I have ever done. But then I realize that I don't get this chance again, once they are grown, that's it. Better get my hugs and leaf fights and games of Candyland in before they ask for cell phones and rides to the mall.

Confrontation 12 years, 6 months ago

It doesn't make sense not to have a full day of class. These kids could greatly increase their knowledge of things other than the x-box or playstation. Plus, throw in some physical education that most of them don't get at home. Give the little ones a nap time to help them make it through the day.

trueninetiesgirl 12 years, 6 months ago

all day kindergarden is a great idea .that should have been left in place. instead of trying to find, ways to bring it back. and do as we did ,when we were little. take a nap mat to school .we did it even in the first grade.

trueninetiesgirl 12 years, 6 months ago

oh yes get rid of half days on wednesdays that is just a waiste of time if your in kindergarden.and a hasle for other grades parents.

Kookamooka 12 years, 6 months ago

I stay home and it's very hard work. Having an afternoon kindergartener is really tricky. On Wednesdays he has to eat lunch at 10:30 am in order to get to school for the 11:10 to 1:30 period. Afterschool he has a "formal" lunch. 1/2 kindergarten takes it's toll on stay at home people too. I can't do any of the late morning activities with my 2 year old during the week because we have to get lunch by 11:00 for the Kindergartener. So if toddler gym opens at 10:30-12:00 FORGET IT!

Steve Jacob 12 years, 6 months ago

What would the full kindergarden do extra over half a day? Most of it would be nap time. And that's the truth. It's hard to pay many teachers full wages for that. Now, if you call it "day care" pay someone $6-7 an hour and charge parents for it, you have a compromise. Basically run it like the afterschool programs the boys and girls club run at some other schools.

SAHM2tylrnathan 12 years, 6 months ago

Just curious on statistics--when they calculate unemployment, who does that include? Does it mean everybody of age who is eligible for a job but doesn't have one for any reason (including by choice), or is that the number of people who are seeking jobs but unable to find work? Technically, I am unemployed! I never really thought about it before, but it's a little misleading if it includes people who do not enter the workforce by choice. Also not exactly sure how the unemployment figure for teenagers what meant to figure in this context. I hope to God there are not many unemployed teenagers worrying about all-day kindergarten!

I wholeheartedly agree that I am one lucky person to be well enough off financially to stay home. But I also know that some people in my situation or better choose to work and let someone else raise their kids most of the day. I would never bad mouth anybody who truly has to work to keep their family fed and safe--that comes before everything.

Oh yes, afternoon K bites when you have a younger child who is still napping!! Makes for a cranky toddler/preschooler when you have to get them up to go pick up big brother! ;0)

SAHM2tylrnathan 12 years, 6 months ago

"No offense, but you are a divorce / pink slip / debilitating injury / car wreck / heart attack away from choices being made for you. I hope you remain fortunate."

I hope so too. That's why it's called being fortunate. If you think for one minute I am slamming people with awful circumstances, I would ask that you give me a little more credit. Should any of those things take away my ability/choice to stay at home with my kids I would do what any sane person would do--find a job and find somebody to watch my kids. I am truly sorry if that is the position you or someone dear to you has found yourself in, because you sound pretty passionate about it. My beef is with the folks who chose to bring kids into the world knowing full well that they would be paying other people to raise them so they could have more "fulfilling" careers and leisure time without the headaches of daily child rearing.

SAHM2tylrnathan 12 years, 6 months ago

Wendt: Wow. How utterly amazing to assume that you know me based on what I wrote.

"The idea that people don't have an option is a mystery to you." Well, not really. Wasn't an option for us until 5 years ago. But I also have a friend whose husband is an assistant pastor (big money there) who made the conscious choice to only work nights cleaning offices so she could be home with her kids during the day. She could have found a higher paying job during the day, but she CHOSE not to. So please admit that there ARE choices--they just may not all be everyone's first choice.

"I am truly sorry if that is the position you or someone dear to you has found yourself in." Thanks for removing this from the context it was in--I was trying to be sympathetic if fate had put you in a position where you weren't allowed to parent in the way you wanted. You were the one who mentioned accidents, divorce, heart attacks, etc., so I wondered if you had been dealt a bum hand.

Not sure where pity came into the whole equation. I know and love moms who work, moms who stay home and moms who have done both. God bless the work you do as a pediatric nurse. I know some kids with cancer (some angels too) and I know their parents always give the most thanks for the nurses who care for their kids. I cannot imagine a more stressful or rewarding job.

Hope you feel better for the vent. Also hope you are not so quick to judge in person.

Thanks for worrying about my welfare, but I've got my ducks in a row, believe it or not.

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