Grosse Pointe Public School System
The kindergarten teachers and elementary building administrators are united behind a full day program for all students as being instructionally superior. State and national curriculum standards for kindergarten are built on a full day of instruction and to encourage districts to move to full day kindergarten, districts receive only half the per pupil allocation if students are enrolled in a half-day program. Our talented staff has been working diligently to fit all of the increasing kindergarten demands into a half-day program, but that is not ideal. 65% of all kindergarteners nationally were attending ADK by 2003 (Child Trends--Graph). The Education Commission of the States used these dated figures in their 2009 report but then listed by state the changes that have occurred. Many states are enacting changes. More are studying the issue. No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation fuels these changes. Budget crunches delay them.
State Grade Level Content Expectations (GLCE) have increased due to NCLB. Kindergarten is often referred to as the new first grade. See the extensive GLCE list at the Michigan Department of Education . Kindergarten materials are also based on a full day program.
At the same time, the needs of 4, 5, and 6 year olds for play and language development have not changed. And in the kindergarten teachers’ words, “building a strong early foundation is paying academic success forward.”
A great question being asked is “Why now, when the State and district budgets are being cut, would we move to all day kindergarten?” The answer is two-fold:
- The Board of Education set budget parameters this year that asked us to use a zero-based budget model. This means that we would not wrap our arms around the program we have now, roll that forward and figure out the shortfall based on increasing costs (health care, retirement, salary steps) and declining revenue (state cuts and dropping enrollment) to determine our budget cuts. Instead we would start from scratch and look at every program and position to design the strongest instructional program for our students within our resources.
- The district always seeks ways to improve and better meet the instructional needs of our students. The administrators clearly stated that instructionally all day kindergarten is superior for all students.
What should parents of kindergartners do now?
It is important for families to register their kindergarten students as quickly as possible as staffing is built upon actual enrollment. Please register and enroll by March 1 so the district can budget and staff accordingly. Call 313-432-3083 today. Thank you!
How old must a child be to start Kindergarten?