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School district considers full-day kindergarten for 2014-15



CCI_AGWRSDJillianPollin
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Fifth graders Jillian Pollini and Matthew Finneron shared their research projects and slide show presentations on ladybugs and timber rattlesnakes respectively with the school board Monday evening, Nov. 4. (Heather Terragni photo) (click for larger version)
November 07, 2013
TUFTONBORO — The Governor Wentworth Regional School District is one step closer to implementing a full-day kindergarten program at all its five elementary schools, beginning with the 2014-15 school year.

Just shy of a year and a half since Wolfeboro resident and teacher Amie Cloos asked the school board to consider establishing a full-day kindergarten program rather than a half-day, the board's Academic Affairs Committee, charged with researching this possibility since early summer, unanimously recommended the idea to the board at its Nov. 4 meeting.

After Assistant Superintendent Heather Cummings and the Academic Affairs Committee researched the educational impacts of an all-day program they met with approximately 12 of the district's current kindergarten and first grade teachers as well as the principals at the five elementary school that offer kindergarten (excluding Crescent Lake School).

Reporting on this meeting, Academic Affairs member Ernie Brown said that the teachers and principals were unanimous in their support for moving forward with a full-day kindergarten program.

"They have found that the half-day is just not adequate for the educational requirements of today," he explained. "It just isn't enough time."

"Kids who have half-day kindergarten are not nearly as prepared when they get into first grade as a student who has had a full-day."

Of the approximately 180 educational systems in the state, 71 school districts already offer full-day kindergarten and more are exploring the idea, said Brown.

Though no doubt the additional instruction could make a significant difference in the education of the district's students, school board member Jack Widmer, while a "big proponent of full-day kindergarten," reminded the board that adding or expanding programs comes hand-in-hand with subsequent financial impacts. Because of this he motioned to move forward with the process of evaluating the feasibility of adding full-day kindergarten within the district to the finance committee level.

In agreement that at this point there are a lot of unknowns regarding the financial aspects of expanding the existing program, the board voted in favor of having the finance committee review the details.

Still though, Charlene Seibel, Vice-Chair to the board, urged that the school board try and have this change in place for the next school year. After looking at all the research supporting all-day programs, "it's kind of a no brainer," she said and it's "a really great investment in our community's future."

The Governor Wentworth Regional School Board will meet again on Monday evening, Dec. 2 at Carpenter School in Wolfeboro. At this meeting a public hearing for the proposed 2014-15 budget will be held.

This meeting can be viewed in its entirety on http://wolfeborocommunitytelevision.com.

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