Archive for Thursday, January 17, 2008

All-day kindergarten remains an option

January 17, 2008

Another committee is being formed by the Baldwin School Board.

Further research and discussion are needed before the school board makes a decision on full-day kindergarten. This will be the second committee to investigate the topic.

Board Member Ande Parks, who served on the first committee, made the recommendation at Monday's meeting.

"It was tough to reach a consensus on that committee," Parks said. "In my opinion, we should form a professional committee and have them come to the board with options for us to look at. That would be my recommendation."

Parks recommended that Supt. Paul Dorathy head up the next committee. Dorathy accepted and added Board Members Ruth Barkley and Bill Busby to the committee. The second committee will begin to look at why does the district want full-day kindergarten and would it benefit the students, according to Board Member Scott Lauridsen.

"I think it warrants continued evaluation," Lauridsen said. "I think the next committee needs to look at what problem are we trying to solve? I would be really interested in hearing what are we trying to achieve and how do we know if we achieved it?"

Two members of the first full-day kindergarten committee spoke for a few minutes Monday night. The two women spoke about the benefits and the disadvantages of having a full-day kindergarten class.

Some of the benefits that were discussed are that it helps at-risk children and some teachers really enjoy teaching for an entire day.

The reasons against full-day kindergarten include cost, scheduling and the elementary state assessment scores are already high. Possible suggestions were made to increase the age limit of the Parents as Teachers organization from 3 to 5 years old or expand the number of children in the 4-year-old program.

"All of the research that I read said that it really helps some of the children, while others will just float along as they were going to do," Parks said. "I haven't read anything that said it's detrimental to children."

No decision was made at Monday's meeting regarding the full-day kindergarten, but the board will continue to discuss it at upcoming meetings.

In other news from Monday, the board discussed the cost of its summer course, driver's education. Last year, Dorathy suggested increasing the price to $160, but the board went halfway from $100 to $130.

They made up the difference on Monday. The board approved increasing the price to $160 for all district students this year.

At the end of the meeting Monday, the board approved the personnel report. It included the resignation of Scott Hall (Baldwin High School assistant football coach). The hirings included Eric Black (BHS assistant track coach), Jim Carpenter (Baldwin Elementary School Primary Center head custodian) and Charles Holvoet (substitute debate coach).

The next school board meeting will be at 7 p.m. Feb 11 at the District Office.

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