Forum to discuss full-day K

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REGION 16 — Kindergarteners in Region 16 could be going to school for a full day as soon as next year.

The Region 16 Board of Education, which oversees schools in Beacon Falls and Prospect, is considering implementing full-day kindergarten in the 2015-16 school year. The board has yet to make a decision yet and before one is made the public will have the opportunity to weigh in on the subject.

An informational meeting on the transition to full-day kindergarten will be held Nov. 20 at 7 p.m. at Woodland Regional High School, 135 Back Rimmon Road, Beacon Falls.

The forum will include a panel of administrators, teachers and parents with experience transitioning to full-day kindergarten to discuss the topic and answer questions.

The public can submit questions ahead of the forum by emailing lmoraniec@region16ct.org.

“What we’re trying to do is get some feedback from the educational community if this is something that we want to financially invest in and if this is something that we think is educationally sound for the Region 16 school district,” Superintendent of Schools Michael Yamin said.

Yamin said a financial analysis of moving to full-day kindergarten hasn’t been completed yet, but figures are expected to be ready for the forum. A draft curriculum for full-day kindergarten will also be available at the meeting.

The school board has been discussing going to full-day kindergarten for several years. Those talks ramped up when the three-part building project was approved in 2011.

The education specifications for the new Prospect Elementary School, which will replace Algonquin and Community schools, and the renovations to Laurel Ledge School in Beacon Falls include space to expand to full-day kindergarten.

The new school and the renovations are expected to be finished by the 2015-16 school year.

Earlier this year a full-day kindergarten planning team was put together to develop curriculum, plan professional development for teachers, determine the financial impact of full-day kindergarten and figure out how to arrange classrooms to make room for the additional classes. If everything goes has planned a decision is set to be made in the spring.

If Region 16 approves full-day kindergarten the district will be among a large number of schools district in the state that have made the switch.

According to school officials, 84 percent of school districts in the state have full-day kindergarten, up from 74 percent in 2012.

School board chair Donna Cullen, speaking on her personal opinion and not for the board, said with many districts making the switch it’s time for Region 16 to join them. She also believes full-day kindergarten is beneficial for students.

“I do believe we are ready and should be moving forward with full-day kindergarten,” she said.