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 Nov. 4 and a public information meeting was Nov. 11. Recommendations for all-day kindergarten were presented to the school board Dec. 2. Input will continue to be solicited from parents, community members, teachers, support staff and administrators at the Dec. 16 and Jan. 6 school board meetings. Additional information about full-day kindergarten is available at www.stma.k12.mn.us/schools/albertville-primary.
• 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.
“Numerous students demonstrate that there are many benefits of full-day kindergarten,” said Supt. Jim Behle. “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.”