School district struggles with kindergarten indecision

Officials unsure whether there are enough students for half-day program

Despite an outcry from parents at the last Moffat County School Board meeting, half-day kindergarten's fate still is unclear.

In April, the School Board unanimously approved a plan to implement full- and half-day kindergarten programs beginning in fall 2009, pending the amount of interest in half-day kindergarten.

But after kindergarten registration last week, the number of students interested in half-day kindergarten still is unknown, school district assistant superintendent Christine Villard said.

"Right now, we're not sure if there will be one or two sections," she said. "We can't tell if we'll have enough students for sure - there are still too many tentative parents."

Villard said a decision about half-day kindergarten would be made after parents submit their final decision May 11.

There was a larger than normal turnout for registration last week, Villard said, and it might have been a result of the option for full day.

"Most of the folks who came to register were ecstatic about the full-day option," Villard said. "There was only a small minority of people committed to half-day.

"Most of the people who wanted the half-day option were families who felt half-day is what works best for them."

Because the numbers are unknown, it has not yet been determined where the half-day kindergarten program will be housed.

"Our thinking at this time is that if there are a lot of students who are wanting half-day, we will try to put that section in one building," Villard said. "If one of the elementary schools has more half-day students than the others, we will try to have it there.

"That way, there will be less of a transition for a fewer number of students."

There will be about 200 students in the kindergarten program next year, Villard said, and a number of parents haven't made a decision.

"Some people we know have kindergartners coming up didn't register," she said. "And there are a number of people still undecided."

Once a decision is made, however, it will be final, and students will not be allowed to switch from one program to the other.

Villard said the final tally is taken in August as school starts.

"We don't get every child registered before school is out in May," she said. "And families move in and move out during the summer. Then, the only variable is more students moving to Craig."

Villard said the amount of space available in the schools also could determine where the half-day program could be housed.

After enrolling in half-day kindergarten, a student would either enroll in their home school, or continue at the same school through school of choice.

"We told parents that if they chose half-day for their child there's no guarantee where that section would be," she said. "If it isn't in their home school, they would have to be responsible for transportation."

Villard said parents still could register for kindergarten at their home school.

"If they think their child will be attending East Elementary, they can go to East and register there," she said.

"If it isn't there, then the secretary can tell them which school to register at."

The cost of adding full-day kindergarten is an additional $200,000 per year, Villard said. During its meeting last month, the School Board made the commitment to fund the program using federal stimulus money.

Ben Bulkeley can be reached at 875-1795 or bbulkeley@craigdailypress.com.

Comments

cowgirlmc 4 years, 11 months ago

This to me as a stay at home mother is so frustrating! I do not want my children going full day as a kindergarten student. I honestly dont think that starting them out full day is going to do anything. If it comes down to this my children will not attend kindergarten here. I've gone to the meeting and I dont think they care. Most of my friends that work and have children consider school to be a free babysitter. They laugh and tell me why pay a babysitter when you can have a full day of kindergarten??? Has anyone noticed that study say that american eighth grade students rank 15th in an international study on math achievement. By the time they graduate high school, they score near the bottom of all industrialized nations. I'm sorry but putting a six year old in full day kindergarten is suppose to change this??? I dont think so.. We as a country need to start teaching to teach, not teaching to for tests. When need more teachers and more funding.

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redneckgirl 4 years, 11 months ago

"We as a country need to start teaching to teach, not teaching to for tests. When need more teachers and more funding.".......what?

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cowgirlmc 4 years, 11 months ago

sorry I meant we need more qualified teachers and funding. I am not saying that Craig has bad teachers either, I believe that we are lucky to have great teachers. But now teachers teach around the state tests. I dont think thats right. I think that teachers should have certain subjects to cover within the year, and teach how they want to teach. Yes there should be accoutability, but leave it up to the school disctrict. sorry I got way off subject, but my main point is that i dont think that by going to school all day that a kindergartener is going to change anything.

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mustang 4 years, 11 months ago

Cowgirlmc, your argument against full day kindergarten does not make sense. I too am a stay at home mom and I feel that all day kindergarten will be a great benefit to my child. I also attended the meetings and listened to those who have taught both full day and half day programs, and I have done my own research. I have found that most studies suggest that students who are enrolled in all day kindergarten perform better. The research is there and clearly states that all day programs are beneficial and that students that attend them do better on standardized tests and do better socially. You state that "american eighth grade students rank 15th in an international study on math achievement. By the time they graduate high school, they score near the bottom of all industrialized nations," so why not give your child a head start and hopefully raise the scores on these tests. Kindergarten has changed a lot since we were kids. When we went we learned the alphatbet, colors and shapes, now if your child does not know those before kindergarten they are already behind. I have a child in kindergarten this year and he thinks that it is "no fair" that his sister will get to go to kindergarten all day next year. He wanted to attend all day. My point is all day kindergarten is there to help the students no matter why the parent wants them enrolled in it. I do not need the daycare, I just want to give my child the opportunity to learn more and to be that much further ahead of the game.

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John Kinkaid 4 years, 11 months ago

The educational system in the U.S. is messed up. Ineffective teaching methods are taught to prospective teachers in college. Money has very little to do with results. We just throw money at schools and expect better results.

High school is babysitting for teenagers.

Keep your kids at home. Give them the best education that you can.

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George Robertson 4 years, 11 months ago

And studies have found that if you drug them properly, they apparently learn better.

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redneckgirl 4 years, 11 months ago

yes, they will also benefit greatly from learning how to weave in 8th grade art class. That's college material right there!!

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kcamom 4 years, 11 months ago

cowgirlmc, You may have the option to send your child half day. Not sure about Co., but our district had to provide enough of the basics in the first half of the day to allow any children to go home after lunch.

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Really 4 years, 11 months ago

Redneckgirl, Everything a child/person learns, whether it is algebra or weaving, builds new pathways in their brains to make subsequent learning easier. If all they did was weave all day, I would be concerned, but not in one class.

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redneckgirl 4 years, 11 months ago

When your kid has a ton of math homework and chooses that over weaving homework, then fails art because he chose the math, then I find it ridiculous. Its my kid and if I don't agree with weaving then that's my choice.

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buck523 4 years, 11 months ago

As schools, they must provide well-rounded students that are exposed to a wide variety of curriculum and information. No redneckgirl, it's not your choice for her not to weave if it is an assignment and something that she is learning in school. I can only imagine how frustrating it must be for teachers to try and educate our kids only to have the parents in the background pulling these strings....(you don't have to weave...because I told you so honey....). No wonder kids are so out of control in schools these days. Parents need to be supporting the teachers and the schools. If you don't agree with something, make an appointment and see the teacher and discuss it. I know that the anti-school folks will jump all over this, which is okay.

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redneckgirl 4 years, 11 months ago

I understand that they need well rounded curriculum and I have no problem with that. What I have the problem with, is the choice of curriculum. My son (not a "her" by the way) had no choice in the matter. At least make it something worthwhile, something they will carry on through life with. I'm pretty sure weaving isn't going to help him as an adult when he goes to work or when he goes to college. Teach banking skills or something life related. The problem with me telling him that he didn't have to do it is because the teachers load them up with massive amounts of homework, so much so that they don't have a normal night. My SON will come home from school and start on homework an hour later, work all through dinner until 11 pm at night. He still wouldn't get it all done. If parents like me didn't get involved in their children's school lives in regards to what is going on there, what is being taught and not being taught then my kids would be far worse off. It's my job as a parent to know what is happening at school, if you don't care then that's your choice.

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mustang 4 years, 11 months ago

Redneckgirl, kids need to experience different things. You never know weaving may become very important in the future and open doors for your child or I should say son. I can already hear the argument coming, but listen to this example. When I was a freshman in high school I took a pottery class, was it something that I or my parents thought would help me in the future?? No, but it was a break from the rest of the school work. Well I liked pottery and found that I was very good at it. I continued to take pottery classes all through the rest of the years of high school, and who would have guessed that an art scholarship would pay for my first year of college. Pottery, weaving, whatever, those pointless classes that aren't going to get you anywhere sure helped me. It started off my college career, and now I have a career that pays excellent and has fantastic job security. So again who would have guessed that a freshman pottery (art) class would still be affecting not only my life but that of my families years later.

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redneckgirl 4 years, 11 months ago

That's great for you Mustang and I can understand that. I'm not here to have an argument with anyone, I am just pointing out things that bother me with my children's school. My son failed because he was hammered with math homework the same night he had a weaving project due. He chose the math over the weaving and in turn failed art for it. He explained to the teacher (same blonde one that's been there forever) what happened and instead of giving him an extra night to finish it, she failed him. So what...life goes on, math at the time was more important and probably always will be. I don't agree with Buck telling me kids are out of control because I want to be involved with my child's life. This is the reason my kid is not out of control, because I do know what's going on whether it be in school or out of school. If we didn't have kids failing these days then we wouldn't have to babysit the teachers now would we? Some are there for a reason and some are there to collect a paycheck, they could care less. Check out where Moffat County ranks with the other schools in our area-it's not that great. If I could live in Routt County and send my kid there, I would-they have excellent scores. This was taken from the Colorado School Accountability Reports. Grades 07 - 08 2007 - 2008 School Year

School Performance Summary

Overall Academic Performance on State Assessments Average

Academic Growth of Students Low

How CRAIG MIDDLE SCHOOL SCHOOL Compares To Nearby Middle Schools
School Academic Performance HAYDEN MIDDLE SCHOOL Average SOROCO MIDDLE SCHOOL High NORTH ROUTT CHARTER SCHOOL High BARONE MIDDLE SCHOOL High STEAMBOAT SPRINGS MIDDLE SCHOOL Excellent RIVERSIDE SCHOOL Average GYPSUM CREEK MIDDLE SCHOOL High GLENWOOD SPRINGS MIDDLE SCHOOL High YAMPAH MOUNTAIN SCHOOL No Rating NORTH PARK JUNIOR-SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL High

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buck523 4 years, 11 months ago

Redneckgirl, I didn't mean to imply that your kids were out of control because of what you mentioned. I meant to imply that there are a number of kids that are out of control within the school because they have parents telling them that it does not matter what the teacher says or does....the student does not have to do it. This is likely not the case with you, but I do know it is the case with many of the students. As I tell many parents that have issues with the schools....quit complaining and get involved. Run for the school board. Be sure to be at all the PAC (Parent Accountability Committee) meetings each month at the school. From attending some of these meetings, they are very poorly attended, yet there are lots of parents out there complaining. Come to the meeting and voice your concerns and become part of the solution. I would agree that there is too much homework, but by going to the PAC....you can address this issue with Toovey and see if it can be remedied one way or another. If you are involved and these issues are not being looked at, then you do have a reason to be complaining.

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lonelyone 4 years, 11 months ago

redneckgirl, I don't see Moffat County listed in your school rankings. I really am wondering where Moffat County stands in there. I also understand your frustration. My grandchildren go to school in another state. They are great kids and good students, but they are sick and tired of teachers loading them up with school work. It can be very stressful at times for them. The two older ones like to play Lacrosse, which just got over for them, so besides having to attend practice and games, they would then come home to a mountain of homework. I don't know that their parents have ever told them they didn't need to finish something, because something else was more important, but I think they have gone to the school and told the teachers in question that they are piling it on to much....altho I have no clue if it's done any good. I'm not saying that we should baby our kids through school because they are going to be working their butts off later to support a family and their employer won't be easy on them, but they are still kids and they or many of them will still have collage to attend too, let them have a bit of their youth to enjoy while they can. I think it would have been a good thing if the art teacher would have told your son, redneck, that she would have given him an extra day to finish the project at a lower grade, because he didn't get it turned in on time. And yes, I know that opens the door for other kids to try to get out of a project, but now and then what's it going to hurt???

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redneckgirl 4 years, 11 months ago

Craig Middle School was at the top, it's average-where most others are high or excellent. I understand where you are all coming from. There are a lot of parents out there that don't care at all, i'm just stating the fact that I am one that does care. I can't go to PAC meetings because of my work schedule but it does not mean I don't get involved other ways.

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