Steamboat Springs 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."
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