A couple of highlights - the district will phase out the option of half-day kindergarten at Albertville Primary School. Currently, half-day is the only free option, with tuition covering the cost of a handful of full-day sections. That will flip over next year.
The district's curriculum head, Ann-Marie Foucaualt, has also said a new, more rigorous lesson plan is on tap for all kindergartners as they are prepared for first grade with a new, all-day format. That includes more emphasis on math, which, to this point, has been secondary to reading and word recognition at the kindergarten level.
Here's the plan, as detailed by the district:
All-Day Kindergarten Coming in 2014
The St. Michael-Albertville School District will implement a full-day kindergarten program next year. A kindergarten task force began meeting in September to develop the STMA program. Findings from the task force were presented to the school board on November 4 and a public information meeting was held on November 11. Recommendations for all-day kindergarten were presented to the School Board Monday Dec. 2.
Input will continue to be solicited from parents, community members, teachers, support staff and administrators at the Dec. 16 and Jan. 6, 2014 school board meetings. Additional information about full-day kindergarten is available at the school district's website for the Albertville Primary School.
· Offer full-day program for all kindergarten students
· Work with families on a case-by-case basis to excuse their child from a portion of the full-day, if requested
· Transport all full-day kindergarten students
· Maintain class sizes similar to current kindergarten classes
· House kindergarten at Albertville Primary School
· Hire an assistant principal with teaching responsibilities
· Offer support services such as English Language, reading interventions, special education, health services and 504 plans
Full-day kindergarten is not a new concept at STMA. The district has offered Kindergarten Express that allows families to pay for a full-day kindergarten program. Full day funding for kindergarten was passed in the last legislative session allowing all parents to enroll children in a full-day program regardless of the ability to pay.
Federal mandates like “No Child Left Behind” and the “Common Core” and state mandates like Minnesota’s “Reading Well by Third Grade” have changed what kindergarten students are expected to know and be able to do. Below is a comparison of expectations in 2010 compared to expectations today.
Print name and write “many” letters of the
Read 10 high frequency words.
Read at Level B (two lines of text per page).
Use words to describe.
Compose informative/explanatory, opinion,
and narrative writing pieces.
Read 40 high frequency words.
Read at a level D (multiple lines of
Identify new meanings for familiar words and
apply them accurately
Numerous students demonstrate that there are many benefits of full-day kindergarten. Full-day kindergarten classes show greater reading and math achievement and provide social, emotional, and intellectual benefits. It gives children more time to focus and reflect on activities and transition between activities without being rushed. Teachers go into more depth and have more time to enrich, remediate and individualize learning. Full-day better prepares students for first grade.