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Archive for Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Lawrence elementary school task force mulls all-day kindergarten

October 19, 2010

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Moving next year’s sixth-graders into middle schools looks to open up plenty of room in elementary schools for any number of uses in the future, including the potential for all-day kindergarten districtwide.

One minor problem: cash.

“Parents like it, and it’s good for kids,” said Scott Morgan, a member of the Lawrence school board. “It’s a great combination, but it’s highly unlikely to be implemented. I don’t know where we would come up with the money.”

He pauses.

“But it needs to be talked about.”

No problem there.

Morgan and other members of the Lawrence school district’s Elementary School Facility Vision Task Force are busy discussing enrollment data, building conditions, historical trends, efficiency goals and other matters deemed necessary to determining what shape the district’s 15 elementary schools should take in future years.

Monday night’s meeting expanded into the realm of “best practices,” a lineup of policies, investments and operations shown by researchers to make the most difference in improving education for students in grades kindergarten through 12.

All-day kindergarten made the list. Others included training and retaining teachers, encouraging parental involvement, following a “tight” curriculum and using data to drive allocation of resources.

But the real discussions will start in the coming weeks, as members of the task force — a group formed to help envision how the district’s schools should operate now that sixth-graders will be moving up to middle schools beginning next year — begin to focus on the big picture.

The task force’s four subcommittees will report their findings, and then all two dozen members will try to find common ground through efficiency, history, schools’ physical conditions and how all those factors fit into the concept of “neighborhood” and “community” schools.

“Then everything’s fair game,” said Rick Doll, district superintendent.

That’s also when members will start assigning priorities to the so-called “best practices,” to see not only which ones might work within the operational, historical, physical and political environments in Lawrence, but also perhaps the most important framework: financial.

Last school year, board members cut teachers’ professional development, increased the average class size by one student and made other program changes to slash millions of dollars in expenses from the district balance sheet to accommodate state budget cuts.

More cuts could be on the way this year, making the task force’s priorities that much more important.

“You have limited resources and plenty of options,” Doll reminded members of the task force. “What do you do?”

Answers to that question will come during the coming weeks and months, with the task force’s final recommendations due to the school board by February.

Comments

Clevercowgirl 3 years, 5 months ago

Next, there is going to be a correlation mentioned. "Well, if we didn't have quite so many elementary schools.....maybe we could have all day kindergarden for everyone".

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mr_right_wing 3 years, 6 months ago

This is unfair government-financed competition for the Lawrence daycare industry!

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budwhysir 3 years, 6 months ago

we need a task force to review this??????

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Scattered 3 years, 6 months ago

I do agree that for some children, being in all-day kindergarten is preferable to staying in their home - but this is certainly the exception, rather than the rule.

I agree with formerly anonymous.....do your homework. All day kindergaraten is NOT the best choice for most children. I have not met a teacher yet who believes that is is in the best interest of children of this age.

Free babysitting.......

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volunteer 3 years, 6 months ago

Somebody apparently told Rich Minder to keep quiet and let Morgan do the talking.

Not a bad idea.

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Jeanne Cunningham 3 years, 6 months ago

I think that all day kindergarten should be an option. Even though many children got to daycare, there are still some (hopefully, many) who are at home with Dad or Mom all day up until they begin Kindergarten. Those lucky kids need to transition to being away from home for such an extended period of time. Why should they have to give up the time they have been given to "just be a kid", when there are many who would love to have had that luxury? Or, should their parents be ostracized for having been able or having sacrificed to be with their child? Should they have to figure out how or if they will send their child to daycare, just so the child will get used to being away? That seems to be a terrible choice to have to make...

Let them just be kids for as long as possible!!!

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formerlyanonymous 3 years, 6 months ago

All day kindergarten is not great for all kids....especially young boys. Maybe Scott Morgan should brush up on his research.

The parents who like it tend to like it because then they don't have to pay for daycare.

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toe 3 years, 6 months ago

Nothing here but more tax increases.

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consumer1 3 years, 6 months ago

This is how the board "Mulls" all day, day care.. "How can we get more money outta the pockets of the people of Lawrence"???

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greenquarter 3 years, 6 months ago

Why not have full-day kindergarten be an option for parents who want to pay more for it, as it is in some school districts? (It at least used to be this way in Olathe.) So kids at, say, Quail Run by default have half-day kindergarten, but if their parents want them to be there all day for whatever reason (more stimulation, ease of child care, etc.), they could pay extra.

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Clevercowgirl 3 years, 6 months ago

This article should be titled "Direction of Task Force Still Murky" . I hope that there is more focus and direction than is indicated by this article. This is not a three ring circus, it is the daily, and I mean daily, educational environment of our children. This process should be a very serious determination of the future education of our children. I hope that these comments are not representative of the quality of discussion this Task Force is engaging in over the future of Lawrence's education system.

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cmdln 3 years, 6 months ago

Where would we get the funding for performance enhancing drug tests? And who would police for in ethical pay to play.

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Robert Rauktis 3 years, 6 months ago

Teach the kindergarteners to play football. Then there'd be a place for them. The best of all worlds. Daycare and sports. Nothing would have more meaning.

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