Full-day kindergarten eyed

Friday, October 17, 2008 6:50 AM EDT
By Rachael Scarborough King, Register Staff

NORTH BRANFORD — The school district is looking at the possibility of moving to a full-day kindergarten program.

Superintendent Robert Wolfe told the Board of Education at its regular meeting Thursday night that the district has formed a task force to discuss options for the kindergarten program.

Specifically, he said, the task force will discuss all-day kindergarten classes.

Wolfe noted it is possible that, with many districts moving to a full-day model, the state will mandate the change in the future.

“I would prefer to do it in a logical fashion and in the manner we decide,” he said.

But he added that all-day kindergarten would have “major” consequences for the district’s budget.

“I believe that increasing the resources in our kindergarten program is really essential,” he said, adding that the pupils currently only have about two hours of instructional time a day.

Wolfe said the task force is “on a fast track” and is hoping to present recommendations to the school board at its next regular meeting in November so that board members could take them into consideration in their discussions about the 2009-10 budget.

The board had asked Wolfe to form the task force at an earlier meeting.

Shawn Parkhurst, principal of Jerome Harrison Elementary School, is leading the task force, which also includes Stanley T. Williams Elementary School Principal Doug Hammel, Curriculum Director Joan Follo and kindergarten teachers Claudia Faughnan and Michelle Cook.

Other nearby school districts, such as Guilford, also have half-day kindergarten programs, while Clinton, Milford and North Haven offer full-day kindergarten, according to a 2006 report from the state Department of Education.

Also at Thursday’s meeting, the board congratulated 15 students who scored at the “advanced” level on their Connecticut Academic Performance Tests this year and presented them with a letter of congratulations from state Education Commissioner Mark McQuillan.

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