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Kindergarten for All: Implementation of Full Day Program Set for September

At approximately $254,000, the district will be implementing five full day kindergarten classes in each elementary school with a projected average class size of 25 students

Nearly nine months after the school district unveiled its full day kindergarten pilot with a lottery system, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Vanessa Clark announced that a program would be open to all Lacey kindergarteners in September.

At approximately $254,000, the district will be implementing five full day kindergarten classes in each elementary school with a projected average class size of 25 students, Clark said during a report on the pilot program at Tuesday’s school board meeting.

“We are very happy to be making this announcement this evening,” she said.

The district unveiled its full day kindergarten pilot in July, with a lottery selecting 72 kindergarteners in August. Each elementary school had one full day kindergarten class and four half day kindergarten classes.

According to the state Department of Education, the kindergarten year is critical in laying a strong foundation for students, Clark said. More recently, there has been a push for kindergarteners to acquire skills useful for later grades.

“So we can’t afford to wait anymore,” she said.

Kindergarteners in a full day program are more prepared for school, spend 30 percent more time on literacy and spend 46 percent more time on mathematics, she said. They display enhanced emotional, social and behavioral developments and demonstrate reduced retention and remediation rates.

'Kindergarten Ready'

Through the evaluation of facilities, staffing and enrollment, the district determined that implementing the program could be accomplished without a referendum, unlike previous years.

The total cost for implementation is $254,000. The break down is as follows:

  • Staffing: 2 kindergarten teachers, $148,000; 3 paraprofessionals, $102,000
  • Transportation: 2 buses, $40,000 a year/lease
  • Kindergarten Supplies: Teacher resources, $48,000
  • Kindergarten Equipment: desks, playground equipment, $46,000
  • Facilities Renovations: Bathrooms, sinks, $50,000

The district would find an $180,000 in budget savings by eliminating half day bus runs.

The Board of Education approved the solicitation of bus bids at Tuesday’s meeting.

The buildings can accommodate up to 360 kindergarteners, although the district does not expect that many students to enroll in the program, Clark said.

“Our classrooms in each of the elementary schools are currently kindergarten ready,” she said.

An aide, or paraprofessional, would be assigned to each kindergarten class. Only hiring two additional teachers and three paraprofessionals, the district would also be utilizing current staff.

The curriculum would be a balanced schedule of literacy, math, science, social studies and more, Clark said. An example of a schedule included shared reading, guided reading, math explorations, independent reading and a writing workshop.

“We will be spending considerable time this summer with our full day kindergarten teachers to enhance the schedule,” Clark said.

All kindergarteners will have access to school district services such as speech, Clark said.

Embracing Variation

Resident Regina Discenza questioned how current full day kindergarteners have made the transition into the program.

“Have there been any incidents of children not being able to tolerate the day and have there been meltdowns? Did anyone have to drop out or anything like that?” she said.

“There has been an adjustment, as there is for any student entering school for the first time but generally, those students have been succeeding and the program has been going very well,” Clark said.

Resident Bill Moss asked how the district would place students who are currently in the full day program and those who did not make it into the pilot since educational levels may differ.

“We are going to pay careful attention to all of the students obviously,” Clark said. “The same decisions we would make for half day students, we would make for full day students.”

The district would look at teacher recommendations, progress and developmental readiness, she said. Intervention strategies are also being discussed.

By implementing a full day kindergarten program, the district will ultimately be eliminating the half day program, Developmental Kindergarten, which students who may have special needs enlist in before kindergarten, and Transitional First, which some students enroll in before first grade.

Based on what the district has experienced and researched, those Developmental Kindergarten and Transitional First are not “meeting the needs of students,” Superintendent Dr. Sandra Brower said.

“We couldn’t be more excited about this program,” she said. “We know that we will continue to have challenges. We know that at the earliest level for our students, your children, that is where we’re going to embrace variation.”

The district will be working with the teachers on how to differentiate instruction, learning and assessments.

Board member Jack Martenak has waited nine years for a kindergarten program to be implemented within the Lacey Township School District.

“I’m very glad that we could see this come to fruition,” he said.

Although implementing such a program takes time and “hard work,” in the long term, thousands of students will be able to take advantage of this opportunity, President Eric Schubiger said.

“In the end, we have a product that we’re going to be proud of,” he said. “In 13 years, every student will have gone through a full day kindergarten in this district." 

Dates to Remember:

  • Wednesday, March 6: Kindergarten Orientation at 6 p.m.
  • Throughout March and April: parent information meetings will be held.
  • Thursday, April 18: “It’s Elementary” Family Academic Night will be held for all elementary school parents. A variety of topics and initiatives will be discussed.
  • Wednesday, August 21: Kindergarten Open House
Forked River Mom February 20, 2013 at 01:17 PM
This is AWESOME news!!!! My child is currently in full day Kindergarten now and I cannot tell you how far he has come! Coming from full day day care into a 1/2 day kindergarten would have been a huge step back for him. His teacher is amazing! They are reading at the level where they should be in June right now. They are doing addition, subtraction, which blows my mind, because I didn't learn that until second grade. These children needed a full day kindergarten and I couldn't be happier with this news. Times have changed, it's not about ABC's and 123's in Kindergarten anymore. These teachers do an amazing job. This is the foundation of their education and I feel they're ahead of the curve being in full day.
tiffany February 20, 2013 at 02:10 PM
Great....so now my OVER 6 year old missed out again.. she's in half day kindergarten now.they never should have done the one full day in each school they should have waited.. thanks Lacey..always a day late.
tammy jackson February 20, 2013 at 03:24 PM
I hope I am not told at end of the year my daughter is not ready for first grade and I get tier 1 first grade reccommended to me. I will not be happy since she was in half day.. although could not have asked for better teachers .
Mom of 2 February 20, 2013 at 05:55 PM
this is great to hear that the full day program has been so helpful for your child. my daughter will be starting K in the fall and I was very excited to hear it will be full day!
grace February 20, 2013 at 07:15 PM
hope this isnt a babysitting tool
Dennis February 20, 2013 at 08:51 PM
Should have been done years ago. Shame on you Lacey township! I wish I could get back the 8500 I had to pay for full day education.
Favorite Teacher February 20, 2013 at 09:40 PM
studies show early learning is crucial for later success...look it up. costs less to help a kindergarten student than remediate in 4th grade. it's money well spent, just sad it took 9 years for Lacey to implement the program
proud February 20, 2013 at 10:43 PM
@ Dennis, did you pay $8,500 for one child for one year of full time education?
Pamela Brown ♥ February 20, 2013 at 11:42 PM
Wow it took 9 years?? "Board member Jack Martenak has waited nine years for a kindergarten program to be implemented within the Lacey Township School District" 9 years!! 70 million dollars in the budget, This represents less than 1% of the budget...It took 9 years...smh...
proud February 20, 2013 at 11:58 PM
@ Favorite Teacher, i have researched this matter and have been unable to arrive at a solid conclusion as to whether or not full time kindergarten does actually have a long term effect over the course of the elementary years. While some studies indicate that that full time kindergarten students have advanced literary and mathematical skills and are better prepared for the first grade, there are other studies that show data that by the end of fourth grade there is no difference and children who took more time to play, create, and imagine, actually had better higher level thinking skills long term. Frankly, I believe that these studies and "expert" opinions are just that--opinions.
cleanteeth February 21, 2013 at 01:16 AM
I am all for full day kindergarten but am I reading this right?Two teachers at a cost of $148,000.00. $74,000.00 each plus benefits, nice job if you can get it!!!!
Lacey Mom February 21, 2013 at 01:35 AM
Maybe we could spend some money to help the older students who need help pass the HESPA. Everyone is happy about free daycare but is it better for the kids? DK was an awsome program. The options that we lost like DK & T1 was what made Lacey schools different all our kids were not forced to fit into the same box.
er nurse February 21, 2013 at 02:09 AM
Wow so my child is in the half day program this year.Good to know the full day is already "where they should be in June" and my child is in one of the statistics to prove full day is better. Way to let down 2/3 of the rest of the kids ! And to get rid of the DK and T 1 programs? How do they plan on helping those kids ?
proud February 21, 2013 at 03:40 AM
@Forked River Mom, there are some represents of the fundamental right of free speech that would by virtue of their actions ( deleteing posts) prevent us from discussing this matter in an intelligent fashion.
commonsense February 21, 2013 at 01:29 PM
@cleanteeth : I believe the costs for the teachers represents a salary of $52,000 and health benefits average cost of $22, 000 per year, per teacher.
Robert Yates February 21, 2013 at 03:11 PM
None of my children attended state sponsored kindergarten and they still entered the 1st grade fully prepared for the work that would be expected of them. Kindergarten is a waste of taxpayer money. But then again, when was the last time the school board found a program that they did not like. Just keep spending other people's dough though. Eventually residential bankruptcies and people leaving town will force the necessary cuts.
proud February 21, 2013 at 07:21 PM
@Robert Yates, have you ever had the opportunity to read this: Public Schools: Make Them Private by Milton Friedman www.cato.org/pubs/briefs/bp-023.html Though written eighteen years ago, it still very much applies today. I do not necessarily agree with all of Friedman's theories or conclusions, but I do believe he is accurate in this writing. Some other visitors out there might want to take a peek as well.
Forked River Mom February 21, 2013 at 07:38 PM
Um, not even sure what your post means. SMH
Forked River Mom February 21, 2013 at 07:43 PM
My aploogies for confusing anyone with my post. When I said my child is now where they normally are in June...I was not referring to full day or 1/2 day, I was referring to other kindergartners in other districts. I have many friends who have children in 1/2 day in Lacey and they're all pretty much at the same level right now. I owe it all to the teachers! I have many friends up north who's children are in full day kindergarten and they're just learning how to write their full name. It's crazy. The full day program here in Lacey is wonderful, it gives them time to be independent at lunchtime and have recess. Please people, stop being so bitter and stop taking people's words out of context.
MyOhMy February 22, 2013 at 02:21 PM
Before my kids even entered kindergarten this full day stuff was to come to fruition, LOL, they all are in HS now!!! I guess it is a good thing. But I don't agree with the bashing of DK or T1 (did I read that correctly?) by the administration. The kids that I know that did these programs have landed in the honor classes in the MS and HS. Those programs DID work.
MyOhMy February 22, 2013 at 02:29 PM
@Forked River Mom below-me either....
JoAnne February 22, 2013 at 10:11 PM
It's amazing they take money away from programs like T1, when they house preschool programs in our elementary schools. Pre school does not belong there, parents should pay for preschool like most of us had to. Also they are cuttinig back on aides for these children, saying the money is going to technology. When was the last time a computer helped your child unpack their backpack, or zipper their coat, or even opened their milk at lunch. Too many negative changes going on this school system since new superintenedent. Board of Ed, open your eyes!
proud February 22, 2013 at 11:33 PM
@Jay,if your child can't unpack their backpack, or zipper their coat, or even open their milk at lunch, they should either be at home and /or with a babysitter.
Robert Yates February 22, 2013 at 11:42 PM
@ proud: thank you for the book title. I have not read that one; will take a look.
proud February 23, 2013 at 06:49 PM
You're welcome and ust click on the link @ Robert Yates. I find this paper to be an rather good synopsis of a large body of Friedman work that addresses education.
JOHNNY Done it March 21, 2013 at 03:54 AM
Cancel full day kindergarten till the BOE can afford it (PS That don't mean raise our taxes to cover the costs) Let the parents send there KIds to Daycare or too Preschool The rest of us taxpayers should not be burdened with this cost..
JOHNNY Done it March 21, 2013 at 03:57 AM
Studies show if your taxes keep going up you might go bankrupt , special after taking sandy damage & no help from FEMA & your own insurance co paying when they feel like it
JOHNNY Done it March 21, 2013 at 03:59 AM
That's great everyones taxes are going up .......

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