Lacey's kindergarten students will have an edge this year.
begin today district-wide, but the major change from previous years is
the full implementation of a full day kindergarten program at each of
the township's three elementary schools.
"We are ready and excited to be able to offer a full-day program," said Acting Superintendent Dr. Vanessa Clark.
Each school – Cedar Creek, Forked River and Lanoka Harbor - will house 5 Kindergarten classrooms each.
District staff readied the classrooms over the summer, and all are
ready to welcome approximately 20 students, the average kindergarten
classrooms were already kindergarten ready, much thought went into the
planning of the physical space in order to provide students with an
optimal developmentally appropriate educational environment," said Clark.
evaluated their facilities, planned for enrollment and determined that
the full-day program could be implemented without redistrict. Two kindergarten teachers and three paraprofessionals were hired for this year, said Clark, and all 15 teachers
participated in summer professional development, which included
discussions on scheduling and implementation of a full-day kindergarten
curriculum, classroom environment, and best practices in instruction.
district first stepped into the full-day kindergarten pond last year
with one full-day class at each school, serving a total of 72 students
who were selected by lottery.
Staff met with the full-day
teachers throughout the 2012-13 school year to discuss classroom
environment, curriculum and scheduling, Clark said. Last spring, the
district hosted the NJ Department of Education's Division of Early Childhood Education office to see the program, and invited Vincent Costanza, Education Program Specialist, for a visit.
"These meetings provided opportunities to gather information that was used to guide a full program implementation," said Clark.
The program as a whole cost $254,000,
district officials have said, most of which went towards the increase
in staff. The district tempered the overall cost of implementation by
saving $180,000 by eliminating half-day bus routes.
But the ultimate reward for the money spent will be a better foundation laid for the township's youngest students, officials say.
"Kindergartners in a full day program are more prepared for school, spend 46 percent more time on mathematics and 30 percent more time on literacy," said Clark. "There is no doubt that
given the rigor of the Common Core Standards, kindergarten students in a
full day program will be better equipped to master the standards, thus
better prepared for college and careers upon completing a K-12 education
in the Lacey Township School District."