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Thread: Full Day Kindergarden?

  1. #1
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    Default Full Day Kindergarden?

    I'm looking for info (links) or a summary of Wayland's exploration into a full-day kindergarten. Is the idea still being considered?

    I found several online resources (see below), one of which indicates there would be a community/staff survey Fall 2009. I have not seen anything about it, nor has anyone (friends + neighbors) anyone I've asked. It makes me wonder if the study group/investigation is on hold.

    Online links in reverse chrono order:

    - Aug 2009:
    http://www.wickedlocal.com/wayland/h...y-kindergarten

    - June 2009:
    http://www.wayland.k12.ma.us/distric...DK_6_12_09.pdf

    - Sept 2008
    http://www.waylandenews.com/forum/showthread.php?p=1271

    Other links/resources/information appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Kathy, I’m sorry if it seems your question has been ignored here.
    Sadly, that may be indicative of the attitude about Full Day Kindergarten from the SC and administration.

    While FDK has not been on my radar as I’ve been focused on other aspects of the school system, those I know who have been paying closer attention to it have concluded that it is not being pursued because it would put the BASE program out of business, and BASE generates revenue. Whenever FDK has been brought up, it is discussed briefly in general terms and then never followed up on. There seems to be no serious attempt to examine it until it is required by law.

    I’m sure a SC member will come on and present a more official (or perhaps a more “spun”) answer for you, but that is what it looks like from the trenches.

    .
    John Flaherty

    Any views expressed are NOT mine alone.
    Wayland Transparency - Facts Without Spin
    http://www.waylandtransparency.com/

  3. #3
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    Thanks for taking the time to answer. I will be curious to see if anyone more 'official' has anything to add.

    Since the last thing I had read indicated an active 'study group' I thought FDK was being actively pursued. I hadn't considered the loss of revenue from the BASE program as one of the gating factors; it's an interesting angle.

    I guess when/if the state mandates it Wayland will address it then. I'm still relatively new to town, but that certainly fits the pattern I've been experiencing.

    Cheers,
    -Kathy

    PS. I wouldn't have started to worry about no response until a few days had passed; my other question (on the water rates, back in June 2008) never had a posted answer (just one PM saying someone was checking).

  4. #4
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    Kathy, my apologies for not responding sooner. I've had a number of non-town things going on, and as you can imagine, the School Committee's focus of late has been on the High School project.

    At a recent meeting, the School Committee (for whom I am most definitely NOT speaking officially, John's comment notwithstanding) asked the administration for an update from the Kindergarten study committee. The Committee has not yet received that update. When I learn more, I'll try to remember to post here.

    Also, as a general rule, if you have questions for school officials (Committee members or administrators), please don't hesitate to contact them directly. This forum is really used more for individuals to discuss various topics than for officials to answer questions (in part for Open Meeting Rule reasons).

  5. #5
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    Jeff -- Glad to hear the kindergarten study group is ongoing -- looking forward to hearing more of their findings. If you can remember to post here great. I'll also try to keep an eye/ear out myself.

    I suspect that since no findings have been circulated, and there's been no sign of the planned survey, that it does not bode well for FTK in Wayland's near future (unless it becomes state mandated). I would guess the budgeting process for the 10-11 school year is already underway, and that if there is not active discussion on FTK already it's not likely to make it in.

    It's a good suggestion to contact admin/SC directly -- I didn't necessarily expect anyone in those groups to answer directly here, although it's a nice plus if they were to do so. I've found from other places that I've lived that sometimes the unofficial answer(s) are more informative.

    Cheers,
    -Kathy

  6. #6
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    [Edited with several corrections]

    Broadly speaking, we have three options that we might pursue.

    1. Status Quo
    55% academic day with optional 45% or greater social/recreational day paid for by families

    2. Fee-based full academic day
    Optional full academic day, with increment beyond current program paid for by families

    3. Town-funded full academic day
    Full academic day paid for by taxpayers

    I have my opinions on each of these, but before sharing them, would like to hear what others think about the pros and cons of each. Any I missed? Any smaller tweaks worth considering?
    Last edited by Jeff Dieffenbach; 11-18-2009 at 10:01 AM. Reason: Accuracy, clarity

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    Broadly speaking, we have three options that we might pursue.

    1. Status Quo
    2/3 academic day with optional for-fee 1/3 social/recreational day

    2. Fee-based full academic day
    Full academic day, with additional 1/3 paid for by families

    3. Town-funded full academic day
    Full academic day, with additional 1/3 paid for by taxpayers
    Typical SC math...lets be a little clearer here.

    Option #1 (i.e. - Status Quo) is inaccurate. As a parent of a kindergartener, the status quo is three hours and change paid for by the taxpayers and 2.5 up to 5 or so hours funded by those who choose to use it. Not being critical of the BASE program here, since my daughter surely enjoys it. It is merely a clarification that it's about a 50/50 split as is assuming one uses the ow-end of the BASE hours.

    Option #2 above seems accurate, albeit I'm assuming there is supposed to be an (*) that says such a program would also be optional. It would be, therefore, untenable beause you can't have some K kids going all day and some going partial day. It would create unequal learning paths. Maybe I'm missing something, though.

    Option #3 is the one that slays me, though. Town-funded full day program, with additional 1/3 funded by parents. 4/3 of a day should make for one heck of a robust program.

    Sounds to me like the same math used to calculate savings in the elementary reconfiguration program.

  8. #8
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    Correct, Option 2 would not be mandatory.

    Regarding Option 3, my wording could have been clearer: the increment from the current partial day to the proposed full day would be an additional expense to taxpayers above and beyond what they pay for the current partial day.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Baron View Post
    Typical SC math...lets be a little clearer here.
    Ah, I'd forgotten the joys of civilized adult discussion ... [grin]

  10. #10
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    Default my two cents (sorry, a bit long-winded)

    Jeff,

    I have a quick response to your question about feedback, and then more questions for you:

    Feedback: so we have two flavors of an expanded day, one optional and paid for by parents, the other "mandatory" (as much as kindergarten is mandatory) and paid for within the school budget (i.e., by taxpayers).

    I basically agree with Jeff B. on this one. I'm not sure it's untenable to have a paid-for option which some parents opt for and others against (I do believe there are other towns that run the program in this way - optional for fee), but it's certainly undesirable.

    A few devil's advocate arguments:

    • One could argue that the fee-based service is already an option available to people - they can go to private kindergarten, they could hire a tutor for the afternoon, they can opt for paid educational services, such as global languages. What would be different is that the magnitude of the effort -- it would be available to all, but not all would opt for it, and it should put those who don't opt for it at a disadvantage (I say "should" here not in the sense of wanting it to put them at a disadvantage, but in the sense of that the intention of the program should be to put unenrolled children at a disadvantage, because if it doesn't, then that would say the program itself wasn't worth anything).


    • One might also argue that in a way it's a waste that we don't make the existing K BASE program more educational. We have the kids there and teachers working with them. How much effort would it be to make the program more educational? So, we are intentionally keeping the program not educational, "wasting" effort so to speak, only so as not to give those who enroll some benefit? Almost seems like throwing out the baby with the bathwater.


    • What if there were a private company that were to rent out the Loker facility after school and offer educational classes? Would that be perceived differently than the town offering full-day K for a fee?


    Those points aside, I think if we had such a program we'd like to make such a program available to all the kids. So, we need to decide whether it's worth doing, and if so, fold it into the school budget, so that all children can benefit from it.

    OK, now the questions I promised:

    • Does the BASE program make a profit or is it a non-profit venture?

    • If it makes a profit, how much revenue is generated by the K component?

    • If there are other towns that charge for full-day K, how much do they charge (and how does that compare to our charge to extend K kids for teh full day)?

  11. #11
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    Default Full-Day Kindergarten, what do I know?

    Kathy, excuse me for not knowing that people want full-day kindergarten, my children are all over 25. Kindergarten seems from a long past life. But wait, maybe kindergarten will return into my near future life. How strange? Even though I don’t have children in the schools, and wouldn't want to make any school-type decisions for other people, I do enjoy the philosophy of it all. (And Kathy, you’re funny (in a good, make-me-smile way), bringing up kindergarten at a time when high school is “big” on everybody’s mind.)

    What an opportunity!

    Oh, I do wish the people of Wayland would use their imaginations and start to experiment. The future is made by those that want something more from it. Not by people who benefit from the status quo. Now I don’t have any answers, that’s why experimenting is necessary, but just think, there’s an unmet need for full-day kindergarten because the town can’t afford to fund it. There are businesses in town that provide “pre-school”. There’s a half-empty school building.

    Taking one of Kim’s ideas a bit further, suppose the town gave parents vouchers for what the town is willing to pay for kindergarten (say the cost to the town of the half day). Then offered half the empty school building as a place for a business to provide full-day kindergarten. You might then have competition to provide better education at a better price. With the parents being the “deciders” of what’s better (by where to spend their vouchers).

    (Then maybe expand the program with vouchers for the whole first grade year… heck, why not offer the new High School when it’s built to the company that offers the best educational plan for the least buck? Yes, I got carried away.)

    You’ll never get the school administration or the teacher’s union to touch any of this with a what (a long wet noodle?). That’s the problem with monopolistic bureaucracies. I’ve always wondered why good teachers weren’t setting up their own experiments in education. I imagine it will have to be the parents that change things. No matter how good you think Wayland’s schools are today, the future and undreamt possibilities are always calling.

    And yes, it will have to be the townspeople who somehow figure out they want to ask for a “proper financial accounting”. No, I won’t digress into town meeting, but oh my! Worth a day’s pay? And I didn’t even get to vote “no” on Article 4. I will say that, “Golly gee, me thinks I must practice my public speaking.”

    donBustin@verizon.net

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Reichelt View Post
    • Does the BASE program make a profit or is it a non-profit venture?
    The Wayland School and Community Programs group (WSCP) pays an offset ($80k) to the Wayland Public Schools. The offset is designed to compensate the schools for any costs incurred by the schools. I don't have the full WSCP finances at my fingertips.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Reichelt View Post
    • If it makes a profit, how much revenue is generated by the K component?
    I don't know, but I would think that a reasonable assumption would be to pro-rate the revenue by the ratio of K BASE students to WSCP students overall. Of course, there may be nuances that would adjust this.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Reichelt View Post
    • If there are other towns that charge for full-day K, how much do they charge (and how does that compare to our charge to extend K kids for teh full day)?
    I think that the full day Kindergarten study committee is compiling this. My understanding is that most of our surrounding and peer towns do charge families a fee for full day K.

  13. #13
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    Default Pursue it, specifically

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    I think that the full day Kindergarten study committee is compiling this. My understanding is that most of our surrounding and peer towns do charge families a fee for full day K.
    Jeff, from my understanding this committee hasn't met since last December. I've heard the topic mentioned at various times but with no substantive result. The comparative information has been obtained and available since the committee last met and a Google search of the subject for Massachusetts yields dozens of examples of towns which have implemented the program either as fee-based or fully-funded. Hopkinton has actually had to scale its plan back due to over-enrollment. I have to say that I'm perplexed by Wayland's inability to act on this.

    I acknowledge Jeff Baron's concern about unequal learning development, but that exists in now (albeit in limited numbers) given that some students enter first grade after attending full-day private kindergarten programs. Other towns seem to be able to overcome this -- especially Concord -- as the number of students enrolled in the half-day program has diminished to almost zero over time.

    This is an opportunity to improve the Wayland Schools' academic product at no additional cost to the taxpayer or to parents (save for those who would otherwise not enroll their K-aged children in BASE). The "cost" to the Schools would be a reallocation of fees away from BASE to FDK. I'd like to better understand the budget figures behind this and what lessons Wayland is learning from the experiences of its peer towns.
    Last edited by Paul Grasso; 11-21-2009 at 09:08 AM. Reason: had to make my grammar gooder

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