All-day kindergarten focus of special planning meeting

Based on responses from a parental survey, parents indicated 184 to 31 in favor the all-day kindergarten concept. But board members, after a special meeting to discussion the advantages and costs of going from the current half-day to full-day kindergarten, indicate they do not support implementation of full-day kindergarten district-wide.


Unofficial Minutes of the January 2, 2001, Special Meeting

1. Call to Order

The Board of Directors of the Bettendorf Community School District, in the County of Scott, state of Iowa, met in open session according to Iowa law for a special meeting at the Ray Stensvad Administration Center, 3311 Central Avenue, Bettendorf, Iowa, on January 2, 2001. President Roski called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. Board members recited the Pledge of Allegiance. Lynne Lindstrom, Board Secretary, verified that the meeting notice had been posted and mailed to the media as required by law.

Members present: Directors Anderson, Arney, Castro, Luton, Roski, Wahlstrand, Weigle.
Members absent: None.
Other officials present: John Perdue, Superintendent; Carol Webb, Assistant Superintendent; Paul Bobek, Executive Director of Business Affairs, Lynne Lindstrom, Board Secretary.

2. Agenda Approval.

Motion by Director Wahlstrand, seconded by Director Castro, to approve the agenda as presented.

Ayes: 7 Directors Anderson, Arney, Castro, Luton, Roski, Wahlstrand, Weigle.
Nays: 0 Motion carried 7-0.

3. Comments and Suggestions from Audience.

3.01 President's Statement. On behalf of fellow Board members, at this time I would like to invite any member of the audience to step to the microphone with comments about items of interest or concern that do not appear on the agenda this evening. Please begin by stating your name and address. It would be most appreciated if you would limit your comments to three minutes so that we can keep the meeting moving in a timely fashion and allow others an opportunity to speak. We ask that you remember that Iowa law prohibits us from discussing specific employees or their job performance. If you have thoughts to share about items that are included as topics for tonight's meeting, we would invite those comments when we reach that point in the meeting. Thank you for your support of our school district.

There were no comments from the audience.

4. Discussion Items and Reports.

All-Day Kindergarten.

Superintendent Perdue opened the strategic discussion topic regarding all-day kindergarten and shared statistical data, illustrating more than 81 percent of Iowa public school districts offer an all-day, everyday kindergarten program. In general, a substantially higher percentage of districts with enrollments under 1,000 offer all-day, everyday kindergarten programs than districts with enrollments exceeding 1,000.

Director Anderson facilitated the discussion, which centered on the following key focus questions:
Why implement all-day kindergarten?
What are the benefits to children and families?
What are major drawbacks of all-day kindergarten?
What models of implementation might be possible (all-day, alternate day, extended half-day)?
What do our parents want from all-day kindergarten?
What changes in curriculum will result?

Numerous research studies exploring the pros and cons of full-day kindergarten, staff implications, various models, popularity of the program, and effects on social behaviors were highlighted. Principals from the elementary buildings provided support to the concept and responded to related questions. Paul Bobek, Executive Director of Business Affairs, estimated annual staffing costs of providing all-day kindergarten at approximately $554,000. This expense does not reflect other costs associated with providing all-day kindergarten. Directors discussed academic benefits, timeline for a pilot program, curriculum development, staff support, facility needs, and the potential of offering a four-year old educational program. Based on responses from a parental survey, parents indicated 184 to 31 in favor the all-day kindergarten concept.

Following a lengthy discussion, Superintendent Perdue and directors shared the following summary comments on this strategic discussion topic:
ï Administration and staff should examine other kindergarten models, potentially offering options or choices by building.
ï Professional development needs to be a key component.
ï Impact curriculum.
ï Provide statistical info on the number of students entering the district with preschool experiences.
ï Explore intervention programs for four years old and younger, i.e. preschool , head start.
ï Focus on student needs, specifically at-risk students with 1-2 sections at north and south sites, maintaining PREP; Jump Start.
ï Analyze and share achievement data on current PREP program.

Overall, directors not interested in district-wide, all-day kindergarten

Directors requested administration and staff begin to investigate options, utilizing the framework outline above.

At the February Board meeting, directors will review class size issues, and will plan to incorporate the all-day kindergarten option into that discussion.

A communication will be sent to the parents who participated in the survey and to the PTA Council, providing them an update on Board discussions thus far.

Directors expressed their appreciation to principals and staff for their involvement and participation in this strategic discussion, and noted the positive effects of working collaboratively on these topics of interest.

5. Future Events and Information Items.
Saturday, January 6, Board of Education Retreat, 8:00 a.m. Ã’ 12:00 noon, RSAC
Monday, January 15, Board of Education, 7:00 p.m., RSAC

6. Adjournment.

Motion by Director Castro to adjourn the meeting at 8:53 p.m.

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