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Online Petition: Support Full Day Kindergarten

Help support our children and full-day kindergarten on April 11th at 8:00 p.m. in the auditorium of CRHS as the Board of Education sends their budget proposal to the public hearing.

 

Normally, it is my job to fill up this space, and this week, I intended to write something in support of full day kindergarten for the children of Durham and Middlefield. However, my good friend, President of the MOMS Club of Durham/Middlefield and fellow crusador for the cause, Kate Farnsworth of Durham, has already done an amazing job explaining why all residents of Regional School District 13 need to be behind this change, so why reinvent the wheel?

Please take a couple minutes to read Kate's reasons below, and then, if you are in agreement, sign our petition in support and come out to the BOE meeting this Wednesday, April 11.

Thank you!

-Christina Dreyfus

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SUPPORT ALL-DAY KINDERGARTEN IN RSD 13

According to the Connecticut Department of Education, seventy percent of kindergartners in Connecticut attend full or extended day programs. Durham and Middlefield, however, are part of the minority of towns that only offer half-day kindergarten. Our children deserve the highest level of education that we can provide now. It is time for us to choose to invest in the future of our children and the future of our towns. 

Research shows the importance of full-day kindergarten programs. These programs, however, are not currently available to about 30 percent of kindergarten-aged children in Connecticut. As a result, many of our children begin first grade several steps behind their peers. Full-day kindergarten helps ensure that students build the strong base of learning they will need to succeed throughout school and life.

The Common Core State Standards are in the process of being implemented in Connecticut. Our children will have difficulty meeting these high standards with only half-day kindergarten and they will be left to play catch up in first and second grades. Many of our own RSD13 teachers have voiced this concern at BOE meetings and support all-day kindergarten.

I am a stay-at-home mom, with two children ages three (3) and two (2). I have no ulterior motive in supporting all-day kindergarten. I do not need all day child care. I do not have children in daycare, but I do have a daughter in preschool.  Her preschool program runs four hours three days per week. The current half-day kindergarten program runs only two hours and forty-five minutes; a step back for her and many other children in town. Once you subtract out snack time, bathroom time, and outdoor play, there is very little time left over for teaching.

As the current president of the MOMS Club of Durham/Middlefield, I have had the opportunity to talk with a number of families in town and most have expressed their support for all-day kindergarten. Many of these families, including mine, moved to Durham primarily for the school system. We pay taxes so that we can take advantage of and watch our children excel in the excellent school system. If we keep our current half-day kindergarten program, our children will be starting off behind, left to catch up in later grades and left with a distaste for learning. This distaste will lead to poor grades and poor test scores, dropping our school ratings and eventually dropping the values of homes in Durham and Middlefield. 

The proposed budget for the fiscal year of 2012-2013 is $34,089,930. This figure is an increase of 3.27% over the current budget. The Board of Education has done an excellent job in locating where cuts can be made and I believe this small increase is a worthwhile investment in our children and our town’s future. 

Eventually, the state will mandate all-day kindergarten for each and every town in Connecticut. Let's not wait until the state mandates it; the children of Durham and Middlefield deserve the best that we can provide now.  Help support our children and full-day kindergarten on April 11th at 8:00 pm in the auditorium of CRHS as the Board of Education sends their budget proposal to the public hearing. You can also voice your support on the following petition:

http://www.change.org/petitions/members-of-the-board-of-education-for-school-district-13-vote-for-changing-from-half-day-kindergarten-to-full-day-kindergarten.

Don’t let our children fall behind. Come out on May 8th and voting YES for the proposed BOE budget. We must invest in the future of our children and the future of our town. 

Kate Farnsworth

Durham

Rockfall Resident April 10, 2012 at 11:07 AM
This will be better for kindergarteners, but at what cause? The students in the higher grades will suffer as a result, as they already have when they were in kindergarten. Don't take teachers away from the middle and high schools to fund this. Either add the teachers and increase the budget or leave the staus quo. Don't punish the fifth and sixth graders with less Art and larger class size at Strong. They have already been punished enough.
Guest April 10, 2012 at 12:12 PM
Agree with above comment. Parents just teach your children at home, read to them, play with them, do puzzles with them, one on one interaction far outweighs a classroom.
Christina Dreyfus April 10, 2012 at 02:45 PM
I've attended two of the BOE meetings and have been trying to keep up on the issue through Patch.com and the Town Times. My information may be off, but, as I understand it, a couple teachers in the lower grades are retiring, thus providing the financing needed for a couple extra kindergarten teachers. Also, as I understand it, enrollment at the lower grades has dropped quite a bit. Class sizes are smaller, and fewer teachers are needed. I haven't heard anything about teachers being taken away from the middle school or high schools to fund full-day kindergarten. If I'm mistaken, I'd be happy to be corrected. Another point I'd like to make is that everyone interested in full-day kindergarten is interested in a strong school system in general, for all the children of our towns. We don't need to pit this as a kindergarten vs. high school battle. I think that would take away from the larger problem which is how to fund a strong educational system overall. Lastly, as I wrote earlier, I have been to a couple BOE meetings to voice my opinion. Yes, it's a little nerve-wracking, but I'm glad I did, and was happy to hear other opinions as well. Writing an opinion on Patch.com is helpful, but will not carry as much of an impact as making a comment for the public record. The next meeting is the big one this Wednesday at the high school at 8:00. I hope there's a large turnout. Any interest in education in good interest.
Rockfall Resident April 10, 2012 at 04:46 PM
They would be taking away .4 of an Art Position from Memorial and .6 from John Lyman
Michael Hayes (Editor) April 10, 2012 at 05:08 PM
Here's a link to the particulars of the full-day K budget http://patch.com/A-r0xC
Grizz April 11, 2012 at 03:48 PM
Just an excuse to have parents uses schools for daycare they would have to pay for. Put their burden onto taxpayers.

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