Hillsboro schools Superintendent Steve Noble told the board of education Monday that the time is now to discuss starting all-day kindergarten classes at the elementary.
He said first, Kansas and college career standards have gotten higher, causing teachers to have to teach more in the same amount of time.
“Kindergarten is the new first grade,” he said.
Second, he said the poverty rate is increasing within the district, which is the most consistent indicator of at-risk children.
Since Gov. Sam Brownback is pushing an all-day kindergarten initiative to pass in five years anyway, Noble said the district has a proposal in concept, but it is not ready for public viewing.
Elementary school Principal Evan Yoder and kindergarten teachers Tracy Boldt and Shari Sisk also explained to board members it is time to seriously consider all-day classes.
“We’re not expected to teach a lot more, but go deeper,” Boldt said. “We’re doing what others do in a full day in a half day.”
Sisk has had experience with all-day and half-day classes, explaining students get more time with writing, science, and social studies in full-day classes.
Yoder said he thinks extending kindergarten days will provide a good foundation for the median group of learners to excel and grow.
The board agreed the district should pursue the action, and will look to have a proposal prepared within a month.
Budget cuts could continue
Of the $408,527 in cuts the district plans to make in 2014, $270,977 will come from personnel and staff reductions.
Noble reviewed all cuts with the board, saying many are only planned in the short-term, with the exception of personnel cuts.
He also said the district stands to cut roughly $377,000 next year unless the district’s enrollment turns around, or the state provides more revenue.
Some cuts already have been announced, while others will be made public at a later date.
In other business:
- Yoder said the city zoning board voted unanimously to allow animals within city limits for the elementary’s school-to-farm initiative. A vote before the city council will be the next step in making the idea a reality.
- Board members declared 10 acres of land south of the city building as surplus property, then selected to dispose of the land through a sealed bid method.
- The district will offer a pep bus for students to ride to state basketball games this week. Signup is free, but students will be responsible for their own ticket. Thursday, classes throughout the district will end at 2 p.m. for the boys’ 4:45 p.m. game. The same will happen Friday if the boys win.
- The elementary school will start its walking school bus again at 7:10 a.m. March 25 at Trinity Lutheran Church.