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Suffield Schools Study Kindergarten Changes

Suffield administrators have formed a committee of parents and staff to research a possible shift to full-day kindergarten next school year.

A newly formed committee of parents and educators met recently to discuss adding full-day kindergarten to Suffield Schools in the 2013-14 school year. It will meet again Oct. 18.

Jim Collins, supervisor of curriculum, and Karen Baldwin, school superintendent, shared an update with the Board of Education Tuesday night.

“The entire community needs to become aware of the effort and rationale of why we are doing this now, which is the shift in the Common Core,” Baldwin said.

According to Baldwin and Collins, new State of Connecticut standards called the Common Core may require more of the district’s youngest students.

“Shifting kindergarten into the Common Core is very disruptive... there’s just not enough time (in a half day),” said Baldwin.

Board Member Sue Porcello echoed the concern: “How do you put the Common Core into a half day?”

Currently, the district holds two half-day programs five days a week. But with a growing trend of moving to all-day programs across the nation, Suffield administrators are researching the need to get on board.

According to Baldwin, 45 percent of the districts in Connecticut have full-day programs. Granby, Glastonbury and Simsbury all moved to full-day in the past two years.

Collins said the committee will research the results of those districts and use the information to drive Suffield’s transition, if indeed the administration recommends it and the board of education approves such a move. It could become an action item as soon as January.

Other concerns the committee will research include professional development, financial figures, the school readiness of young kindergartners and a possible change to the birthday deadline which is now December. 

The administration plans to hold informational forums as well as survey the community for support and discussion on the topic.

The full-day kindergarten topic is gaining support amongst many families with young children.

A group of parents recently formed a Facebook page “Suffield Full Day Kindergarten” which hosts discussions and disseminates information on the topic. It currently has 84 members on the site.

Ben Rodriguez October 04, 2012 at 11:15 AM
Full day kindergarten is needed as a way to keep schools competitive with changing standards. There are many changes coming, such as the Common Core Standards and grading of teachers, etc. The model of half-day kindergarten wasn't developed for modern day standards. The good news is we've seen other communities make this transition and learn from their efforts, which have all been successful.
Michelle Morey October 04, 2012 at 01:39 PM
With the introduction of the Common Core State Standards, the "bar has been raised" and our education systems need to change in order to meet it -- this includes the expansion of kindergarten to a full day program. To learn more about the Common Core State Standards, go to www.corestandards.org

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