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Scotia-Glenville superintendent promotes full-day kindergarten

Full-day kindergarten is on the horizon for the Scotia-Glenville Central School District, a change that Superintendent Susan Swartz said is emotional, but necessary.

Swartz told a cafeteria full of people at Lincoln Elementary School Monday, Jan. 26, that she has to base her recommendation as an educator not as a parent. She said she understands it may be a difficult adjustment for some parents, but she has to look at what is best for the children in the district, most of whom would benefit from an all-day program.

Swartz said she has met with the kindergarten teachers, and most support either the full-day program or keeping the current transitional practice in place. She said that none of the teachers supported going back to a half-day program.

Swartz also noted that in New York, 623 of 680 school districts offer a full-day kindergarten program. She also said the governor's budget includes kindergarten conversion aid of $801,000, but said that money has also been offered in years past.

That money is not new to us, and it is only a one-time deal, said Swartz.

Swartz said that an electronic survey will be sent to parents of incoming kindergartners to ask what they would like to see happen with the program. She said that in 2008-2009, the district enrolled 179 kindergarteners, and out of that number, close to 80 percent came in with experience in a preschool setting, and many of those attended a full-day, every day preschool program.

"For some children, entering half-day kindergarten is taking a step back," said Swartz.

Swartz's presentation demonstrated a full-day schedule. Much of the schedule includes time for literacy skills, educational centers, free time, music and movement, and "specials," such as physical education and music. Many kindergarten teachers now support going full day because it would allow them enough time to teach the children, as well as give them some free time.

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