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Archive for Saturday, April 21, 2012

School board to look at expanding full-day kindergarten to all elementaries

April 21, 2012

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By the start of next school year, full-day kindergarten could be available at all elementary schools in the Lawrence school district.

On Monday night, the Lawrence school board will be asked to extend the full-day kindergarten program to the remaining four schools who don’t have it: Sunset Hill, Deerfield, Quail Run and Langston Hughes.

The district’s chief academic officer, Kim Bodensteiner, said that for years full-day kindergarten has been a common request among parents and faculty.

“We’ve heard consistently from the community and elementary staff that (full-day kindergarten) is a very important thing and they would like to see it as part of the school programs offered throughout Lawrence,” Bodensteiner said.

To bring full-day kindergarten programs to the four schools would cost the district an extra $527,000, most of which would go toward teachers’ salaries. The increase would be covered through state funding for at-risk students, which among other things can be used toward full-day kindergarten. An increasing number of students who qualify for the free and reduced lunch program have boosted the amount of at-risk dollars the district receives.

The district also anticipates enrollment to go up once full-day kindergarten is added to the schools. Now, in the school boundaries where full-day kindergarten isn’t offered, some parents enroll their child in full-day kindergarten at private schools, Bodensteiner said.

As of now, Bodensteiner expects eight more teachers will be needed to run the full-day kindergarten programs at the four schools.

In Kansas, 85 percent of school districts have full-day kindergarten for all students. And just seven districts, including Lawrence, have programs in only some of their schools.

The first full-day kindergarten program in the Lawrence district opened at New York School in 1988 as a pilot program. Over the next several years, six more schools were added. In 2001, budget cuts forced the district to eliminate the program.

In 2007, the program was renewed and provided in the eight schools with the highest at-risk populations. With part of the money saved from closing Wakarusa School, the district expanded its full-day kindergarten program into Broken Arrow and Sunflower at the start of the 2011-2012 school year.

If the board decides to expand the full-day kindergarten program, Bodensteiner said, the district would continue to provide the option for parents to send their child to just a half day of kindergarten. The policy is now in place, but Bodensteiner said half-day is opted by only one or two families per school a year and many times the students transition into full-day kindergarten.

• Also on Monday night, the Lawrence school board will look at increasing staffing so the district’s class-size ratio at elementary and middle schools can be reduced by one student. The change is expected to result in 21 new teachers, which would cost about $1.1 million. Along with improving class sizes, the administration is asking that the board rehire a director of instruction, a position that had been eliminated during previous budget cuts.

Comments

James Minor 2 years, 5 months ago

The article would have been better if the benefits of a full-day kindergarten were explained. Several schools already use the full-day program but there was no explanation of the upside and downside of it. What are the educational, social and mental benefits of having a kindergartner there all day?

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patkindle 2 years, 5 months ago

at least the parents got the full day of baby sitting they wanted

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JayhawkFan1985 2 years, 5 months ago

I support this even though my kids are well passed kindergarten. Kindergarten is well known to lay the foundation for future academic success. This should have been done decades ago.

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Katara 2 years, 5 months ago

Full day kindergarten is not a full day of "babysitting". To even proclaim it as babysitting is an insult to the teacher and shows how little you value education. Additionally, most jobs do not start at 8am and end at 3pm so there is before and after school care that still must be arranged.

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Lori Nation 2 years, 5 months ago

They will pass this and then will use this excuse to close another school. Way ahead of our board members. We have to start being smarter than our board members people.

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Lori Nation 2 years, 5 months ago

They will pass this and then will use this excuse to close another school. Way ahead of our board members. We have to start being smarter than our board members people.

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dragonfly0221 2 years, 5 months ago

I can see the benefit of all day kindergten even though my kids are way past that point. Is kindergarten required in the state of Kansas yet? Also would like to see the board review our 'wacky Wednesday' schedule. Most districts only do that once a month (if at all) not weekly.

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lunacydetector 2 years, 5 months ago

someone was telling me about how the local daycares were made to provide kindergarten to kids, so they hired a bunch of teachers then the school district decided to take it in house again, so the daycares got screwed....don't know anymore specifics than that, but it sounds like a good but bad story.

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Katara 2 years, 5 months ago

The someone who was telling you all that didn't know what they were talking about.

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Nikki May 2 years, 5 months ago

No one has ever MADE the daycares provide kindergarten. Some of them do. I know the year my daughter went to kindergarten, she was going to be going to a half day program. The year she was in pre-k hilltop had all day private kindergarten, so I was going to send her there, but they discontinued it. (I think they have it again. She's in 8th grade this year, so I am SURE times have changed). I know a few others that had it for a while and a couple that have it now. However, that was a choice.

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Sharon Nottingham 2 years, 5 months ago

What happened to the 1988 pilot class? Were the results of their education retention better than half day students or about the same? Tax payers should know this important information. I have a kid in college, but if research shows a positive result, then I would support the full day implementation.

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grammaddy 2 years, 5 months ago

It's about time. The US used to be #1 in the world in education. Now we're #17. How will ever catch up? Go back to full day Wednesdays too.And stop cutting the budget.

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dontsheep 2 years, 5 months ago

The decline has nothing to do with how much we spend or how long the kids sit there. We are getting exactly what public school was designed to produce. Might I recommend http://www.squidoo.com/stop-stealing-dreams.

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