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District pondering full-day K

Scotia-Glenville, which currently runs a transitional kindergarten program, is considering moving to full-day K, and parents will have a chance to weigh in at an upcoming board meeting on the proposed changes.

Superintendent Susan Swartz said the transitional program is beneficial, but a full day of kindergarten would be the best way to keep up with other districts in terms of state standards. She said kindergarten these days has a full pre-literacy and literacy curriculum that prepares children for first grade.

I think it is time that the district looks at the trend of providing full-day kindergarten, said Swartz.

If a full-day program is instituted, the district will not face additional costs for increased instructional time, because the transitional program that is in place means the schools already have the staff and the space to accommodate a full-day schedule. Under the transitional program, each of the district's four elementary schools change from half-day kindergarten classes to full day in January.

Swartz said the district will actually save money by not having to have buses run during the middle of the day, a cost that is close to $50,000.

Bob Hanlon, communications specialist for the district, said the district has received some feedback from parents who prefer the half-day program, but, he said, with the changing times, the number of parents in favor of full-day kindergarten has steadily increased.

"Scotia-Glenville is in a unique position because, unlike other school districts, we do not need to do two very expensive things: adding staff or building space. We did that when we began transitional kindergarten in 2000," said Hanlon.

Other area districts, such as neighboring Mohonasen, are also considering full-day kindergarten. At Mohonasen, however, increased costs for additional classrooms and teachers are an obstacle.

Mohonasen parent Stacy Smith said she attended a similar forum and said she feels full-day kindergarten is essential given state requirements.

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