72 Lacey Parents Hit Full-Day Kindergarten Jackpot

Parents express range of emotions at school district's kindergarten lottery

Devin Larson waited in the Lecture Hall in anticipation, feeling as though she was going to be sick.

With the click of a button Thursday afternoon, the next year of her child’s education was determined. She was number 23 of 24. Her daughter just made it into the

Larson slightly crouched, covered her mouth with both hands in shock, and said, “I got in!” Larson made a phone call almost immediately to share the news.

“I’m just so happy I’m out of daycare,” she said, although she called the lottery process “wrong” and a “terrible thing.”

“My child’s going to have more of an advantage," Larson said.

After unveiling a full-time kindergarten pilot program, the Lacey Township School District held a lottery Thursday. This September, there will be one full-day kindergarten class per elementary school with a class size of 24.

Dr. William Lake, supervisor of computer education, utilized Research Randomizer, a free online number generator that has been around since 1997, to conduct the lottery.

Each school was assigned a range of numbers, which pertained to individual students. There were 95 registrants for the kindergarten pilot in the , 78 for and 80 for . Lake used one through 95 for the Forked River School. The first 24 numbers would make it into the full-time kindergarten class.

“I don’t think it’s fair. I think they should hold off until they can have it for all the students,” Debra Monroe said prior to the lottery results.

But that wouldn’t be possible. The program will be utilizing the facilities and staffing the district already has, District Supervisor of Humanities William Zylinski previously said. Currently, the district does not have the facilities or the resources to offer full-day kindergarten to everyone.

“Twenty-four select students get full day.” Monroe said, concerned the program would create an education gap in the first grade between those who had full-day kindergarten and those who did not. Monroe said she was told that if her child did not get into the program, he would catch up by the third grade.

Lake entered the numerical range for each school separately and clicked “Randomize Now!” More than 50 parents whispered amongst themselves as they searched the results for their number and learned their fate.

Monroe showed no expression of excitement or disappointment but her child got into the Forked River School’s program.

“Of course I wanted him to get in but I still don’t feel that it’s fair. I’m fortunate,” she said.

Margaret Peschock and Tammy Jackson’s children did not get into the program but they were still in good spirits.

“It’s fair the way they did it,” said Peschock, a kindergarten teacher in another school district. “I’m happy for those who got in. But more parents need to come out to meetings.”

For the parents who are disappointed, they can express their feelings by attending meetings and by voting to hold the district and Board of Education accountable, she said. If more parents did so, Peschock believes a full-time kindergarten program for everyone could have been in place sooner.

Jackson is a stay-at-home mother and said she will work with her daughter at home.

“I just hope it won’t affect her in the first grade,” she said, which seemed to be

“I’m just concerned about how they’re going to accommodate the kids in first grade,” said Shannon Sanford, whose child got into the Lanoka Harbor School’s kindergarten program.

The district's presentation on the pilot noted that with a full-time program, 30 percent more time will be spent on reading and literacy instruction while 46 percent more time will be dedicated to mathematics. 

The transition from kindergarten to first grade could pose to be a problem, Dawn Costello said, recommending the district keep those students who were in full-time kindergarten together the following year. Costello’s child did not get in.

But District Supervisor for Language Arts Michelle Amos said the transition would be no different from other years, in which some students came from a full day of kindergarten while others did not.

“Our first grade teachers are well versed in differentiation and meeting the needs of the students,” she said. “It’s our ultimate goal to have it for everyone.”

The district will use the upcoming school year to evaluate the program, facilities, resources and more to determine if and when a full-time kindergarten program can be offered to all incoming students.

Feedback from parents varied, Amos said. Some were opposed, others disappointed and still others thrilled.

“Parents' concerns are legitimate,” she said, adding that the pilot isn’t necessarily ideal but it’s a step in the right direction. “Having it for everyone just isn’t feasible right now.”

Amos expects a class list for the three elementary schools to be set by mid August. Parents who were selected must decide whether they’re going to participate in the pilot program by Thursday, August 9. If any of the selected parents opt out of the program, the district will proceed down the list in numeric order until each class is full.

Attached are the results of the randomized selection.

Further information on the program, including the presentation unveiling the pilot and a FAQ sheet, can be found on the district’s website by clicking here.

proud August 03, 2012 at 08:46 PM
Apparently, @ makesnosense does need a babysitter. Perhaps, you should both read the first post in this thread by @ruth uveges. She makes so much sense. I would venture to say that that many consecutive hours of " structured" classroom instruction is a bit much for a five year old. Lastly, I would suggest that those children selected by a game of chance are the guinea pigs.
buddy August 03, 2012 at 09:14 PM
Stop whining. If ur kid didn't get picked o well! Get over it. Move on and don't ruin it for those kids that did get picked!
Susan August 03, 2012 at 11:51 PM
Wish we could get a charter school in Lacey. I pull my daughter from Lacey schools in a minute..I sent my daughter to Goddard ( no I am not rich, but made sacrifices by giving up vacations ,etc.) She learned so much and loved being there. She was bored in kindergarten and tested at second grade level and is only starting first grade in September. I will work with her as I know she will be bored again. I was hoping she would be in the MAC program at Forked River but it was cancelled so full day kindergarten could be funded, I guess... you have to take on the education and not expect the schools to do it...they aren't learner centered , they are teacher funded and union driven... Maybe the new superintendent will change this, but I think the teacher unions are too strong. She went to Goddard where they are interactive, and learner driven.. We need more learner centered educators..I wish that we lived closer to a private school as I would gladly continue to make sacrifices... I am hoping to move out of Lacey to a town where she will be challenged at school but for now. I will be proactive and work with her. And for the record, I don't think people are jealous and petty ...there should be equal opportunity and we all want what is best for our children.
Favorite Teacher August 04, 2012 at 12:35 AM
But we now have parent vs. parent... well played administration- divide and conquer...
beachgirl August 04, 2012 at 02:01 AM
If they were going to offer a full day pilot program for ALL of the kindergarten students entering this year, would you still consider them guinea pigs? Of course not - THEN it would be fair.
beachgirl August 04, 2012 at 02:05 AM
Finally, someone is making sense!
Ginger August 04, 2012 at 02:51 AM
Proud...the first thing I thought about when I found out my child was not selected was "oh my gosh, is she going to be be behind??" Now I have to decide if I need to put her in a full week kindergargen enrichment program after school just to keep up with the other kids...she's already just making the cutoff and now I have this to worry about on top of it...to day its just about paying for daycare is jumping to judge, any parent would be lying if they said they wouldn't breathe a sigh of releif not having to pay $700 a month
Pamela Brown ♥ August 04, 2012 at 03:22 AM
This is creating conflict in our community!! It's disgusting to see the board give administration huge raises and create several new administrative positions, while for years we know full day Kindergarten benefits kids academically AND strengthens families. Enrollment is down overall. The $$$ they gave out in administrative raises would go a long way towards making it a reality. * A concerned group of parents DID put in a proposal for a free, public Charter School for Lacey. The parents' proposal for full day kindergarten for ALL students and multi-aged classrooms. Email CreativeStudiesCS@gmail.com to find out how parents are involved.
Favorite Teacher August 04, 2012 at 03:42 AM
Disgraceful actions by the board. They are acting recklessly and divisively. Decades of studies show Kindergarten works. It's far cheaper to get kids in school young and address any learning deficiencies early on, while the brain is still young. Everyone knows that. Schools already take in kids through Special Services at age three. Here parents scramble for over priced day care of various effectiveness. Young kids are very ready to learn, naturally, in fact they are better students than most High School kids.
Pamela Brown ♥ August 04, 2012 at 03:45 AM
Parents can also choose to send their kids to any inter-district public school: http://www.state.nj.us/education/choice/ http://www.state.nj.us/education/choice/districts/
JD August 04, 2012 at 01:41 PM
A few additional items to consider: #1-Favorite Teacher: Thanks for sharing the information and research about Full-Day vs. Half-Day Kindergarten Programs. The last majority of the educational literature that I have read throughout the past 15 years or more, clearly states that Full-Day K Programs are the way to go and have both significant long-term as well as short-term benefits for 5 and 6 year old children. Thus, to me that is a debate that is not even worth discussing, and we need a Full-Day K Program in Lacey Township as soon a possible. #2-If the Full-Day Pilot K Program has positive overall results for the 2012-2013 School Year, the following will need to be considered:
JD August 04, 2012 at 01:42 PM
Contined from above: A-Can all of the 2013-2014 Lacey Kindergarten Students have a Full Day K Program? B-If this is the path that will be followed, can a 2013-2014 School Budget be developed that can afford such a Program? As such, what will be the full financial impact? C-If this is the path that will be followed will sufficient classroom space exist at the Forked River School, Cedar Creek School, and Lanoka Harbor School to house this type of Program? Or will additional classroom space need to be created? D-Is the additional cost factor worth it to have all future K Students in a Full-Day K Program. E-If the K-Enrollment for the 2013-2014 continues to decrease rather significantly will it be possible to implement a Full-Day K Program without the need for building expansion or additional classroom space? Based on the data that we now have, it appears that K-Enrollment for the 2012-2013 School Year, will most likely be down by roughly 20% or more, when compared to the number of K-Students from the 2011-2012 School Year.
JD August 04, 2012 at 01:43 PM
Continued from above: F-As for the Students that will be in the Pilot Full-Day K Program this School Year how will the curriculum and instructional model be adjusted for them once they enter Grade 1 in September of 2013? Based on the original data, this will be approximately 25 to 30% of the K Students of the 2012-2013 School Year. G-As for the Students that will not be in the Pilot Full-Day K Program this School Year and instead be members of the Traditional Half-Day K Program this year how will the curriculum and instructional model be adjusted for them once they enter Grade 1 in September of 2013? They will have encountered roughly 35% to 45% less time in a K-Program during the 2012-2013 than the Pilot Program Students. Based on the original data, this will be approximately 70 to 75% of the K Students of the 2012-2013 School Year.
JD August 04, 2012 at 01:45 PM
Contined from above: The item that I would be most concerned about is how all of the Students that enter Grade One for the 2013-2014 School Year will be handled or dealt with. Since, roughly 25% to 30% of them will have the luxury of a Full-Day K Program, while 70% to 75% will have been through a ½ Day K Program, the students will most likely enter Grade One on a variety of diverse levels. This will mean that Grade One Teachers in the Lacey Township School District will be faced in September of 2013 with a rather wide or diverse level of students. Although, I am certain that the levels of Students in the past (prior to this Pilot Program) were somewhat diverse, that will be multiplied significantly in September 2013. As such, it will be imperative for all of the Grade One Teachers to receive a considerable amount of Professional Development throughout the 2012-2013 School Year and the Summer of 2013, in order to be fully prepared for this major adjustment. I am not saying that this will not take place, nor am I saying that it will not be considered, however instead am just trying to state how vitally important this will be. This will be a considerable obstacle to overcome, and only time will tell us if this can be fully implemented in a successful manner.
JD August 04, 2012 at 01:58 PM
Contined from above: I see in the article that appears below that Lacey Township School District Supervisor for Language Arts Michelle Amos said the transition would be no different from other years, in which some students came from a full day of kindergarten while others did not. And she is then quoted as stating the following: “Our first grade teachers are well versed in differentiation and meeting the needs of the students,” she said. “It’s our ultimate goal to have it for everyone.” All I will say is the following: 1-I believe that Ms. Amos may need to consider that although in the past, yes indeed some students that entered Grade One in Lacey had been through a Full-Day Private K Program while others had not, that the number of Students that will be entering Grade One in September 2013, due to the 2012-2013 Pilot Full-Day KProgram that have experienced a Full-Day K Program will be far greater in numbers. The percentage will now be in area of 25% to 35% of the Students. 2-That although it is my belief that yes indeed the Grade One Teachers of the District have been versed in the past in the area of Differentiated Instruction and meeting the needs of "All Students", that a large need continues to exist in the District for additional training in this type of Instructional Model. In my view, a rather significant need still exists in the District for this type of Instruction. As such, I would highlight the area of Reading.
proud August 04, 2012 at 02:46 PM
Eight percent of the homes on Lacey are in foreclosure and somehow there is a small percentage of benefactors that prioritize free daycare. Sounds a bit selfish and/ or greedy to me.
tr August 04, 2012 at 04:52 PM
JD, Pamela Brown, Favoite Teacher, Proud, Laceygoing downhill, and Susan, Mr. Moss and I would like you to be present at the next BOE meeting and state your positions face to face with the people you elected who can do something about it. If you do not show, again this is just a nice forum, and you are all talk and no action!!!! Talk is cheap, whiskey costs money!!! No guts- no glory!!
joe smith August 05, 2012 at 08:20 AM
@really, well said!!!!!!!!!! PEOPLE quit crying, anything and everything lacey does is no good for you. And yes ALL children were given the same opportunity. The only problem is the fact that Lacey only had space for a certain # of children. How about building classrooms and staffing them so all children could attend, then you would complain about the cost of that!!!!!!!!!!! Anybody crying about the situation probably has a child that did not make it into the program and are jealous because they still have to pay daycare, (its about the children not the money). Also, parents you should have taken into concern the cost of raising a child in lacey and having to pay for it YOURSELF instead of thinking you will get a free ride. You new what lacey had to offer prior to that so if you dont like it you DO have options. BTW is there anything wrong with the blue trim on the HS, if so how about whining about that? Now sit down with your child an read a book, spend some time helping them w/ their homework, show them how to hit a baseball or sew a sweater,
Laceygoingdownhill August 05, 2012 at 11:13 AM
tr...you still don't realize that the BOE does not listen nor take anything the parents say into consideration. I have already filed a complaint and request for investigation with the State and will continue to be in contact with them. I suggest ALL parents to do the same.
Laceygoingdownhill August 05, 2012 at 02:37 PM
I bet your comment is coming from someone who doesn't have children in the school system. Maybe one of those people who doesn't feel they should have to pay any school tax cause they aren't using the system. We do read to our children, play sports, etc. That's why the complaining because we are concerned parents that want the best for our children. Omitting any child from a better education by a raffle is complete discrimination.
JD August 05, 2012 at 03:08 PM
TR-I will not be in the area (actually a pre-planned vacation) on the date of the next BOE Meeting, however rest assured that my thoughts and ideas have been and will be shared with the necessary individuals. Believe me when I tell you, I have no issues speaking in front of large groups or governing bodies. If you have followed my posts on this web site, you will clearly see that using data to back-up a stance or position, is something I most often try to make use of. I have no issues with asking community leaders difficult questions, as long as they are based on data and facts. Again, the major focus of my lengthy post from above was: -The Full-Day K Program is long over-due. Thus, the Pilot Program is a positive step in the correct direction. I am anxioiusly awaiting the day or School Year where a Full-Day K Program is implemented for all future students of the Lacey Township School District. -Available space, student enrollment, and cost factors will need to be looked at in the future. -Providing solid Differentiated Instruction in Grade One during the 2013-2014 School Year will be vitally important to the overall success of "ALL" Grade One Students during that School Year. This becomes a major focus due to the fact that 30% or of the 2012-2013 K-Students will be part of a Full-Day K Program, while 70% or so, will only recieve a Half-Day of K Instruction. I believe that Ms. Amos has already stated this is a goal and focus of the District.
JD August 06, 2012 at 12:38 PM
In my humble opinion, a Full-Day Kindergarten Program would certainly increase the value of homes in Lacey Township in the future. It would provide us with an even better K-12 Educational System, and decrease the number of parents that would require 1/2 Day Care for their 5 and 6 year olds that attend Kindergaten. Thus, I continue to believe that this Full-Day Pilot K Program is a first step in a positive direction. Take a look at many of the research studies that have been completed over the past 20 years or so and you will quickly discover that when families are looking to purchase homes in the area that most will look at the following items just to mention a few: -Low Crime Rate. I believe the Lacey Township Police Dept. has a history of doing well with this. -Recreation Services and Parks. By simply driving around through Lacey Township you will see many great parks and recreational activities that our citizens can enjoy. -Good School System With Many Positive Opporunities: A Full-Day Kindergarten Program will play a part in this. -Low Property Tax Rate When Compared To Towns/Communities In The General Area: Although, none of us like to pay property taxes, and the Property Taxes in NJ are some of the highest in the USA, Lacey's Property Taxes are still considerably lower than most of the nearby communities. -Affordable Housing: Based on the drop of home prices over the past few years, many good buys exist in Lacey Township.
JD August 07, 2012 at 12:41 PM
Laceygoingdowhill-I realize that your last post for the most part was more directed at Joe Smith than anyone else (including me). With that stated, I feel compelled to share a bit of additional information related to the topic of having a child or children in the School District and the manner in which it might have an effect on our beliefs on the topic of the Full Day Kindergarten Pilot Program in the Lacey School District for the 2012-2013 School Year. Since, I have been a regular poster in this thread, it is my belief that the individuals that are following this thread need to have a clear understanding of just where I am coming from. Thus, please consider the following when it comes to my posts on this topic/issue:
JD August 07, 2012 at 12:43 PM
Continued from above: -As I have stated before in other threads, I have resided in Lacey Township for close to 30 years. For the most part, my wife and I have been very pleased with our times as Residents of Lacey Township. Of course, the Township has changed greatly over those 30 years, however I still believe it is a positive place to raise a family in.
JD August 07, 2012 at 12:45 PM
Continued from above: -All 4 of our (my wife and I) children attended and graduated from the Lacey Township School District. All 4 attended a ½ Day K-Program in Lacey. -Currently, I have 2 Grandchildren that attend school in Lacey Township. One of them went through a ½ Day K Program a few years ago. She did attend a Part-Time Pre-School Program for one year prior to her entrance into Kindergarten in Lacey. In regards to her, I continue to believe that she was cheated out of Kindergarten Time because her School Day was approximately 3 hours or slightly more in length. To think that a Full-Day of Kindergarten Instruction can be compacted into a 3 to 3 and ¼ Hour School Day would be rather naïve. For example, if you look at the Kindergarten Reading Program that has been in use in the Lacey Township School District for the past several years, it clearly calls for a Full-Day Kindergarten Program with a rather extensive quantity of time allotted for Reading Instruction. In my humble opinion, quite simply the ½ Day K Program used in the Lacey Township cannot fully meet the needs of this Program. I tend to use the following example in regards to this-“You simply cannot fit 2 lbs. of grapes into a 1 lb. container. In short form something has to go.”
JD August 07, 2012 at 12:48 PM
Continued from above: -We have a second Grandchild that will be attending Kindergarten in the Lacey Township School District during the 2012-2013 School Year. And yes, he was part of the Pilot Program Lottery that took place last week. Unfortunately, based on his Assigned School Number and the fact that only 24 Students will have the ability of attending the Full-Day K Pilot Program at his School in Lacey, he will sadly not be part of a ½ Day K Program beginning in September of 2012. -Was I pleased to see and hear that he will not be part of a Full-Day K Program in the Lacey School District? The answer is a flat-out no. Is it a bit easier to accept since, I believe that the Lottery Approach that was used was a fair approach? Yes. -I can only hope and pray that the Full Day Kindergarten Pilot Program is successful, and that the Educational Leaders of the Lacey Township School District and BOE can work their way through an approach that allows all K-Students beginning in the 2013-2014 School Year to be the beneficiaries of a Full-Day K Program. -Do I plan on keeping a close eye on this over the course of the next 10 to 12 months? All I can say is-“you can count on it”!
JD August 07, 2012 at 12:59 PM
Continued from above: -Do I have some questions about how his experiences in a ½ day K Program during the 2012-2013 School Year when compared to the fact that roughly 25% to 30% of the other K-Students at his School will be part of a Full-Day K Program will effect his assimilation into Grade One? Yes I do. As I have stated before in this thread, the Grade One Teachers in the Lacey Township School District are going to need to receive a considerable quantity of Professional Development and Training in the area of Differentiated Instruction to make the experiences of these 2013-2014 Grade One Students be as successful in Grade One as possible. To think that this assimilation into Grade One in September of 2013 will be the same as in the past, when nearly all of the K-Students went through a 1/2 Day K Program would be rather naïve. In the past, possibly 5% or less of those Grade One Students may have been part of a Private Full Day K-Program, while now it certainly looks like that 5% will grow to a number closer to 25% or 30%. Thus, all I can say is time will tell.
tr August 07, 2012 at 04:10 PM
JD- Too bad you cannot attend the next BOE meeting. Many of your points are well stated and you sound impassioned about them. Might I suggest that you type them up and have a representative read them to the BOE in that public format that you , unfortunationatly, cannot attend, naturally under your letterhead???? Your views will then be shared by a larger concerned group than this format allows.
Buster August 09, 2012 at 04:36 PM
Shame Goddard cannot offer a stable K program so happy Lacey is having full day even if its a pilot
Really !!! August 10, 2012 at 11:36 AM
Central Regional district 269-1100 CONTACT: Mrs. Louise Pesci, Supervisor and if I read it right, transportation IS included.


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