Starting next year, parents of Utica Community Schools kindergarten students will no longer have the option of half-day school.
Joining the statewide shift away from half-day kindergarten, the Utica Community School Board of Education voted Monday night to implement all-day, every day kindergarten at all district elementary schools starting in the 2012-13 school year.
Kindergarten will no longer be what we remember as children, said UCS Board President Carol Klenow.
The full-day recommendation follows a committee study on the impact of full-day options in UCS.
“In UCS we value education and the committee’s first charge was to do research and we found out that certainly it has a positive impact on the progress of students,” said Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning, Robert Monroe.
Committee Co-Chair Dr. Mary Johnson told the board that full-day kindergarten will establish a strong foundation and improve the academic, social, emotional and developmental growth of a child.
“We know that is the right thing and educationally sound thing to do for our students,” Johnston said.
Monroe added that the district is in the early phases of designing the full-day kindergarten curriculum, but it will be a blended learning model that will incorporates digital learning and teacher instruction.
As of now, 15 out of the 25 UCS elementary schools offer a full-day kindergarten option. Out of that, four schools only offer full-day kindergarten.
Monroe said there was a strong request in the district to adopt the full-day kindergarten programs.
UCS is joining nearby districts in making the switch. Both have adopted the full-day kindergarten programs for 2012-13 and beyond.
With the state legislature recently tying per-pupil funding to the actual number of hours a student is in school, districts stand to lose several million dollars by having kindergarten programs remain half-day.
Kindergarten students entering UCS schools this fall will be the first class totally immersed in . The standards, approved by the Michigan Department of Education in June 2010, reflect specific K-12 benchmarks established nationally that reflect a greater emphasis on college and career readiness.
“I think this will assist us (UCS) in accomplishing our goal of providing access for students to be post-secondary ready and be prepared to go to college and have options when they get done with high school,” said Monroe.
More information about kindergarten programs will be available to parents at the Kindergarten Open House, scheduled for 7 p.m. Feb. 15 at all 25 elementary schools.
Information about the open houses is available on the district and each school Web site under the “It All Starts Here” icon.