Robin Crossan, right, listens to a comment from Denise Connelly during the Steamboat Springs School Board's day-long workshop at the George P. Sauer Human Services Building on Friday afternoon.

Photo by Brian Ray

Robin Crossan, right, listens to a comment from Denise Connelly during the Steamboat Springs School Board's day-long workshop at the George P. Sauer Human Services Building on Friday afternoon.

All-day K may be delayed

School Board seeking more input for kindergarten decision

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— Citing the need for more community input before creating an all-day kindergarten policy, Steamboat Springs School Board members Robin Crossan, Laura Anderson and Lisa Brown proposed waiting until the 2009-10 school year to implement the program.

"We don't know what our kindergarten needs are yet, and we don't know the end results we want," Crossan said Friday during the School Board's policy governance workshop with a Colorado Association of School Boards representative.

Board members John DeVincentis and Denise Connelly disagreed, countering that the demand from the community for all-day kindergarten is clear, and that the School Board should be a catalyst for getting the program up and running quickly.

DeVincentis said board members have ample time to gather input from the community and school administrators to make an informed decision on implementing all-day kindergarten for the upcoming school year.

"Are you as a board willing to sacrifice and put the time in now to get this done?" DeVincentis asked. "I'm willing to work on this eight hours a day for as long as it takes."

Jim Weigel, a training consultant with the Colorado Association of School Boards, led Friday's workshop on policy governance. The principles of the governing model focus on ends rather than means. Under the model, the School Board selects measurable goals, such as what reading level students should achieve at the conclusion of their kindergarten year. Administrators and staff are free to meet those goals in whatever manner they choose.

"There is currently no clear direction from this board about what needs must be met and to what degree for kindergarten," Weigel said.

In November, the Steamboat Springs School District formed a committee of district stakeholders - including teachers, administrators and community members - to gather information about all-day kindergarten. Board members also solicited community input on the program during a Jan. 14 School Board meeting.

"I don't feel like there is any reason to delay it yet another year," Connelly said.

Crossan said that as board members practice policy governance, the decision-making process for developing School Board policies will become quicker.

"I'm looking three months here before we have a policy on this," she said. "I don't want something put into place, because once it is there, it's so hard to change it. : I want to take the time to do this right."

Also on the agenda for the all-day workshop were issues such as the installation of security cameras in schools and revisions to the district's harassment policy. No action was taken on any of the items, but board members outlined steps to gather more community input, including more outreach toward community members.

"The power of policy governance is that it enables a board to be more accountable with those who are the moral owners of the organization - the community," Weigel said Thursday. "It makes them take a step back and look at the larger decisions in a much more thorough manner and establish what is expected of the superintendent and staff."

- To reach Mike McCollum, call 871-4208

or e-mail mmccollum@steamboatpilot.com

Comments

mominboat 6 years, 10 months ago

The hold up is the lack of facilities, folks. Soda Creek is under construction and Strawberry Park has one kindergarten class in a small office that looks like a closet. So many people here in Steamboat Springs think that if we demand it hard and long enough it will happen. However, I don't see many parent volunteers gleaning shovels at either elementary school construction site. Soda Creek's opening is scheduled for January 2009. Strawberry Park a similar time frame. The bottom line is that currently there is not a facility that could house full day kindergarten in this district. I commend the board for putting this on hold until the horse can be found to pull this wobbly cart of kindergarten.

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Scott Wedel 6 years, 10 months ago

Apparently, it is time to recall Crossan, Anderson and Brown.

All day kindergarten is not rocket science where a little mistake make a big boom and destroys everything. This is kindergarten where it is truly hard to imagine how more time in school is ever worse than less time in school.

I would be happy if my daughter could be enrolled in morning and afternoon session. Most things are so new to a 5 year old that doing the same thing again a couple hours later is a chance to do it better.

So A, B, C; quit stalling and make it happen. If you think it won't be perfect in 08-09 then just be honest about the issues and then respond to the parents' concerns. But I am pretty sure that almost all parents would say that a flawed full day kindergarten is better than the current half day.

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panky 6 years, 10 months ago

Way to go, Robin. You see this for what is really is...all day day care.

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Nitro 6 years, 10 months ago

Waiting one more year to institute an all-day kindergarten program appears to be in the best interest of everyone involved in this issue. While it is hoped that the construction projects will be completed by January, 2009, everyone involved in the construction industry understands that delays, outside of the contractor's and owner's control, often occur. Keep in mind that double the classroom space is needed for this type of all day program and waiting the extra year allows both the Board and the school district staffs time to get it right. All day kindergarten is nothing new. My oldest son attended a half-day program 22 years ago and my younger son attended full-day 19 years ago. Having experienced both programs within a short time, there is no question that the all-day program is by far, superior. The all day program allows the teachers and students to take more time to accomplish a ever increasing curriculum. While the half day program is OK, I found my younger son to have had an overall better experience. Many children enter kindergarten from an all day child care environment and are ready for the next step in their education. Half-day kindergarten is no longer appropriate in today's environment. So Board, get it right - wait the extra year, finish the projects, identify the required classroom space and write a curriculum that will benefit all of our students.

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raver 6 years, 10 months ago

Finally,a voice of reason.Finish the construction projects that will house this program,instead of spending more of our money on a hastily made decision.Thanks to Crossan.

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80488mom 6 years, 10 months ago

I had one son in full day Montessori kindergarten and another in a 1/2 day program. I didn't see any appreciable difference in their progress. I always thought of school as just one component in their education and not all encompassing. Parents need to take more responsibility for their children's education, social and emotional development and not expect it to be done for them. Both my kids earned full ride academic college scholarships. The addition of one program is not going to make the difference.......you are.

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beagle 6 years, 10 months ago

Hey BSB4 PS - Sorry you didn't recover. How are the canine behavioral studies going?

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justathought 6 years, 10 months ago

Yes, once this gets started they will have to create half day pre-kindergarten to prepare them for all day kindergarten. Wonder how many years it would take before pre-kindergarten would go to all day and half day pre-pre kindergarten would start. Wonder if these little children even know their parents.

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ajrw40 6 years, 10 months ago

There was all day kindergarten when I was in school, 60 years ago. We even took naps. Had our own little bed rolls that went home to be washed every week. My kids just had half days but you know they did just fine!! 3 masters and one all most doctorate in the bunch......

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