Seeking answers

School Board directs Smyser to gather all-day kindergarten input

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— The Steamboat Spring School Board directed interim Superintendent Sandra Smyser on Monday night to gather the pros and cons of implementing all-day kindergarten.

Among the questions Smyser was asked to answer included cost implications, academic benefits and community views toward implementing the program.

Board members - along with members of the community who attended the meeting - expressed their displeasure with the lack of progress made by the district's all-day kindergarten committee on gathering reports on the existing half-day kindergarten program and what is needed for an all-day program.

"The committee came to a halt with no direction as to what program they are supposed to put together," Smyser said of the committee composed of district stakeholders such as administrators, teachers, support staff, parents and other members of the community.

"Is this supposed to be a program geared toward at-risk children, or is it an academic program focused on everyone?" she asked. "These are the kinds of questions that can really make a difference in what type of program we have."

The committee was formed by the district's director of curriculum and instruction, JoAnne Hilton Gabeler, in November shortly before the three new board members began their terms on the School Board.

Board member John DeVincentis said he hopes Smyser brings back enough information to kick-start getting all-day kindergarten implemented for the 2008-09 school year.

"The board asked for all-day kindergarten in August," he said. "I find it frustrating that we are at this point in the year without having these questions answered."

Monday's School Board meeting continued a years-long discussion about implementing all-day kindergarten. Board member Denise Connelly said it's a topic that has been debated for about 16 years, and it's time for board members to provide the leadership to get the program started.

"We are in a stage of transition where we are implementing a new process of monitoring results," Connelly said of the School Board's movement toward policy governance, which emphasizes governing entities to empower administrators and staff to make decisions.

"I would hope not to short our students for the sake of a process," she said.

School Board President Robin Crossan told community members - many of whom were upset that the Hayden and South Routt school districts have figured out ways to implement all-day kindergarten - to be patient with board members.

"As you can see, we are new at this, and we hope that as we move through this process in a thoughtful manner, we will gain experience so we can move forward with (policies) at a much quicker pace in the future," she said.

Comments

justathought 6 years, 7 months ago

[Is this supposed to be a program geared toward at-risk children, or is it an academic program focused on everyone?" she asked.] "Board member John DeVincentis said he hopes Smyser brings back enough information" because he finds it frustrating that these questions aren't answered. It sounds like D didn't like Howell because she took things upon herself, and now is frustrated that Smyser wants direction; JUST my opinion based on what I'm reading here. To answer her question on the type of program she is supposed to get answers on, it doesn't matter, it's just taxpayer funded daycare and that's why they're in a big hurry, AGAIN, just my opinion.

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addlip2U 6 years, 6 months ago

8048...mom

Not every mom can stay at home and do the wonderful things you offer to your children every day. That is what the Kindergarten and its caring providers should and have as a part of their curriculum.

Also one important aspect of being in Kindergarten is learning behavioral and social skills. Which some children staying at home may not acquire until formative years.

Kindergarten with a good curriculum and great staff is a must for Steamboat and an option for those who want to have their children in it.

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BowWow1 6 years, 7 months ago

Hey B4U aka Principally Sent ...give up the venom already! All your past blogs and the present blogs are still the same - how you hate Connelly and D for getting rid of Howell. Blah blah blah! Seems like you're taking this pretty personally...hmmmm I wonder why? With Howell gone I think the BOE is moving forward and doing a pretty good job. I also think it's great that Connelly and D are around to help out our new Board Pres. Crossan who seems to use her novice status as an excuse for not being able to make any real decisions yet. Come on already .... all day Kdg. is long over due in this town!!!

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letomayo 6 years, 7 months ago

BC4, you seem to be in a bd mood. What is it that Conelly and D are at the end of your jabbing stick. Whoever said above about it being personal. Are you trying to make them look and sound bad? My friend went to the board meeting last night and thought that Cenelly and D were poistive about starting full day kindergarden and said she thought it sounded like the principles and the assistent superintendant were slowing things down for five months and didn't get any work done when they were supposed too and now they are behind getting it done. She said there are alot of parents and people who want kindergaden next year.

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BowWow1 6 years, 7 months ago

B4UC/PS - I really missed hearing from you. Tell us more about your alpha dog and pack behavior theories.

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letomayo 6 years, 6 months ago

Our kiddos go to school all day long they just go to two places which is harder then going to one. I agree to get rid of the junk you have at home for you kids that they play and spend time and buy them books But kids are going to be somewhere all day even if it is two places so it is better to be at one and it will save us alot of money to have them in the regular school where they are safer than getting on the road again at noontime.

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80488mom 6 years, 7 months ago

If you think all day kindergarten is going to make all the difference in the world you are in for a big surprise. Moms and Dads you are going to find you held the key to your own children's success all along. Keep dreaming.

Could you try unplugging the Nintendo or the TV and spending time nurturing your own children and see what difference that makes? Instead of buying your children all the latest and greatest toys and games could you try helping them make their own games and stimulating their creativity and imagination? What about old fashioned puzzles to enhance their hand eye coordination and develop their sense of spacial relations. A puzzle of the United States is a wonderful learning tool. Read, read, read to your children. Visit the library at least twice a week. Write your own books together and illustrate them. Share and solve riddles. Get them thinking. Bake cookies and use the time to learn about measurements and math. The list goes on and on and and all it requires is a bit of creativity on your part and the desire to help your children be the best they can be.

A full day is a long day for a 5 year old. They grow up too soon. Why push them. The greatest gift you can give your child is your own time. The years between 0-5 are the formative years when the foundation for their success will be laid. Nothing suddenly magical occurs at 5 and necessitates you putting them in school all day. You need to start when they are just babies by stimulating their senses and continue with the process. You are only limited by the limits of your own desire and creativity. Join with other parents and create experiences for your children together. Enjoy and embrace the delights of teaching your own children. No one loves them more than you or is vested in their success as much as you. It's foolish to give that up to an institution.

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 6 months ago

I think all day K would be a boon to working parents. There are not enough child care facilities and you usually have to pay to reserve that child's spot even if they are home sick or something of the sort, from what I hear.

As for all day being too long, well, yes it is. That's why they usually have a nap time.

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justathought 6 years, 6 months ago

BINGO, "it will save us alot of money to have them in the regular school". BINGO, "all day K would be a boon to working parents". BINGO, "Not every mom can stay at home and do the wonderful things you offer to your children every day. That is what the Kindergarten and its caring providers should and have as a part of their curriculum."

The taxpayers should not be required to save you a lot of money. The taxpayer already pays for your kids EDUCATION, that is enough of a burden on society, raise your own children or quit having them. Schools are to EDUCATE not raise your child.

How did Obama win Routt with all of these Hillary attitudes? Hopefully, for your sake he thinks the village should raise your children too. Have more kids for tax and welfare breaks and then pass them off on society, why else would you have kids you didn't have time for and couldn't afford? When they get in trouble you can always sue the school, after all, they must not have raised your child properly.

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 6 months ago

Education is a burden on society. Wow...just...wow. Darwinism at it's finest.

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80488mom 6 years, 6 months ago

Armchairqb - what I have seen is an undeserving sense of entitlement among our youth and parents who easily crumble under their demands. When I hear stories from parents about their out of control children I sometimes wonder, "who's the parent?" Instead of parents running their lives it seems it's the teenagers who are running their parent's lives.

I waited 10 years after marriage to have my first child. I was working and my husband was in school. I wanted to be a stay at home mom. There is much to be said about sacrifice. When the children came we had one car, and not a very nice one at that, but it was transportation. We did without more than a few things that, obviously, had I been working, we would have had. It's called priorities. You can do more with less if you are willing.

I was raised in a very small three bedroom house with one bathroom. My parents had 4 children. We never felt cramped or felt we were missing something.

I understand that it is difficult and a struggle for families to manage on one income particularly in this town. However, having one or two kids in daycare takes a huge chunk out of the family paycheck so are you really ahead? I just feel if you want children you should be prepared to make the sacrifice. Your children deserve it. You shouldn't expect society or the schools to make them for you.

I was recently on a trip and stayed at a home where there was a 4 year old little boy staying the weekend with his dad. One morning that little boy was planted in front of the TV watching cartoons. I took him to the kitchen and pulled up a little step stool. He and I made pancakes for everyone. He was absolutely thrilled when we finished and he served everyone. Such a little thing. I think we've forgotten how to be parents and what a gift our undivided time and attention is to a little one. It really makes me very sad.

I know I'm of the Leave it to Beaver generation but with all the advances (and some obvious declines in society) are we better off?

I started posting to this thread because I really felt that all day kindergarten is not the answer to much of anything except the day care shortage and I really don't think it is the schools responsibility to ease that burden. I'm at least happy that the obvious was stated and it's really understood that the kids aren't any better off when graduation rolls around with an extra few hours of kindergarten. It's a family financial issue for the most part.

I don't believe that education is a burden on society and I do see the value in pre-school a few hours a week. My kids did go to a Montessori pre-school program but I bartered and worked at the school while they were there as a tuition exchange. I used the pre-school component to complement what I was already doing at home. It might surprise you but I would be in favor of public pre-school for a few hours a week for 3 and 4 year olds.

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80488mom 6 years, 6 months ago

I have seen over and over again children indulged because parents, perhaps a bit guilt ridden, want to give them everything they want and will do anything to make them happy. They have become the "Me Generation". If it feels good do it. If I want it give it to me. The universe revolves around me. The lack of discipline and structure has created the lack of self discipline and it's crippling many teenagers. They have everything but something is still missing. They are miserable. I personally think this country is in a crisis.

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armchairqb 6 years, 6 months ago

Way to go 80488mom nothing like old school!!!!!it worked fine for me and most of our generation why won't it work for this one. Don't listen to the liberals on this blog . Keep up the good work

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80488mom 6 years, 6 months ago

(cont.)

You can't tell me that a mother who has worked all day isn't stressed by the time she and the kids come home to get dinner ready, laundry done, the house cleaned. What percentage of her time is totally devoted to sitting down with her children. It has to be a struggle. Then you look down the road and see the results of a frenzied, hectic life and you see families where the control has been relinquished to the children.

I don't pretend to have the answers to all the woes our children face today. I don't know why so many kids are unhappy but appear to have it all. I don't know why so many young girls end up pregnant. I don't know why so many kids are on drugs and teenage drinking is at all time high levels. Self medicating unhappiness??? I don't know what the common denominator is when you look at kids who graduate and go on to achieve great levels of success but I can speculate that it is direct parental involvement and it's purely speculation on my part.

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letomayo 6 years, 6 months ago

80488mom, what a world of wizdom. You don't pretend to have all the answers just most of them and your life was an inspiring one to read so I won't tell you about mine but I haven't lived such a marvelus life as you. I'm not sure what barteing you did or what others could do but most moms and dads work for others and have nothing to give in return except money and there isn't enough of that to go around. what would a salesperson barter qucik service or a teacher better grades for kids or a zambonie driver all the ice you need for your blender at a party. you're comments were all over the place and it seemed like you were just on a roll and there is not a better place for it except here but I don't think this blog counts for much. Maybe you could give lectures at the junior college here.

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80488mom 6 years, 6 months ago

letomayo - it wasn't perfect and it wasn't easy. I pawned the wedding ring for diapers and groceries. In one school I mopped and cleaned the lunchroom and sat with the children during lunch helping them clean their tables. In another I worked as an assistant in the classroom.

My life was not marvelous but there were rewards and one of those is seeing that a solid foundation was laid for my children's success and I'm able to look back like the Monday quarterback and see what could have been better, what was right and what I would avoid given the chance again.

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JazzSlave 6 years, 6 months ago

During one of my radio gigs, I did a weekly public service interview show with the local schools. One week, the topic was the district's literacy initiative. The superintentent brought a parent into the studio to tout the program's success (turns out he might have chosen someone else if he'd had it to do over again).

The program wasn't going well for this parent's kid, & little Johnny was struggling. I related a personal anecdote - I too had had a devil of a time learning to read. My parents bought a set of flash cards with simple words on them. Every morning, the cards would be on the kitchen table, arranged in simple phrases. I would have to read what was in front of me. One of my parents would be there to help, but I had to make the effort & do the work - and it was successful.

I suggested to little Johnny's mommy that she try something similar. She looked at me as if an alien had burst out my chest. "But... that's what the SCHOOL is for! I'M not getting paid to teach him!"

The supe told me afterwards that it was a growing challenge - parents whose involvment with their kids' education amounted to shoving them out the door in the morning. He said the phenomenon was exhibited primarily in middle & upper middle class families; less affluent parents tended to be more involved; and immigrant parents (this was an area with the largest Hispanic population in the state) were almost "fanatically" involved.

Endless studies have evaluated $ per student vs. student performance in parochial vs. public schools, and the gap is enormous. Money isn't the answer.

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80488mom 6 years, 6 months ago

Jazzy - The $$$ correlation is an interesting one and worth further study. I think in the parochial vs public school debate one would also have to consider structure and discipline.

I've always had to be creative and think outside the box because I didn't have the mega $$$. I think if I was a young mother or father and faced with the day care issue (without the option of one parent staying home) I'd put together a co-op of parents and start a small preschool/day care program myself. Everyone has gifts and talents and quite possibly you could find the right mix and pool resources. Maybe one parent can teach music, another yoga.....everyone is required to put in "x" amount of time or "x" amount of $$$$. You would have a group of parents who are equally vested in the success and care of the little ones. If I didn't currently have to work to provide insurance I'd be tempted to do it myself for others. I love children....all children....and I couldn't think of a way I'd rather spend my day. I'd envision a center where the kids took care of chickens and farm animals where their spirits were nurtured as well as their physical and educational needs.

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424now 6 years, 6 months ago

From the immortal Paul Harvey.

"We tried so hard to make things better for our kids that we made them worse. For my grandchildren, I'd like better. I'd really like for them to know about hand me down clothes and homemade ice cream and leftover meat loaf sandwiches. I really would. I hope you learn humility by being humiliated, and that you learn honesty by being cheated. I hope you learn to make your own bed and mow the lawn and wash the car. And I really hope nobody gives you a brand new car when you are sixteen. It will be good if at least one time you can see puppies born and your old dog put to sleep. I hope you get a black eye fighting for something you believe in. I hope you have to share a bedroom with your younger brother/sister. And it's all right if you have to draw a line down the middle of the room,but when he wants to crawl under the covers with you because he's scared, I hope you let him. When you want to see a movie and your little brother/sister wants to tag along, I hope you'll let him/her. I hope you have to walk uphill to school with your friends and that you live in a town where you can do it safely. On rainy days when you have to catch a ride, I hope you don't ask your driver to drop you two blocks away so you won't be seen riding with someone as uncool as your Mom. If you want a slingshot, I hope your Dad teaches you how to make one instead of buying one. I hope you learn to dig in the dirt and read books. When you learn to use computers, I hope you also learn to add and subtract in your head. I hope you get teased by your friends when you have your first crush on a boy..girl, and when you talk back to your mother that you learn what ivory soap tastes like. May you skin your knee climbing a mountain, burn your hand on a stove and stick your tongue on a frozen flagpole. I don't care if you try a beer once, but I hope you don't like it.. And if a friend offers you dope or a joint, I hope you realize he is not your friend. I sure hope you make time to sit on a porch with your Grandma/Grandpa and go fishing with your Uncle. May you feel sorrow at a funeral and joy during the holidays. I hope your mother punishes you when you throw a baseball through your neighbor's window and that she hugs you and kisses you at Hannukah/Christmas time when you give her a plaster mold of your hand.

These things I wish for you - tough times and disappointment, hard work and happiness. To me, it's the only way to appreciate life. Written with a pen. Sealed with a kiss. I'm here for you. And if I die before you do, I'll go to heaven and wait for you."

I say share life as it happens.

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80488mom 6 years, 6 months ago

That's beautiful. Thank you for sharing. I'm going to save that one.

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80488mom 6 years, 6 months ago

It reminded me of my mother. She told me if I dug deep enough I would reach China. I was hoping to meet a Chinese friend on the other side. I just kept digging. Brought back memories of digging for dinosaur bones in urban Denver with my kids. I never expected we would find anything but we had so much fun. Also reminded me of licking icesycles as a kid and eating real snow drizzled with maple syrup with my sons. Good times.

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letomayo 6 years, 6 months ago

That's such lovely memories. I remember some good times too but mine aren't as good as yours. My family were drinkers and child abusers and now I wonder if I ever want to listen to your memories again so please keep them to youself thanks

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80488mom 6 years, 6 months ago

letomayo - I'm so very sorry.................

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armchairqb 6 years, 6 months ago

My wife came from a really big family. 9 people, with only one bathroom. They ALL shared bedrooms & ALL helped out around the house. My father-in-law cut everyones hair. He held down 2 jobs & my mother-in-law did NOT drive. When they needed to go shopping, everyone walked. When the shopping was done, my mother-in-law took a cab home & ALL the kids walked. The packages were waiting at the doorstep & everyone helped. His full time job was delivering the mail. He walked the route everyday (he's still alive & kicking @ 87) Christmas at their house was simple. Someone on his mail route was gettting rid of an old bike. He took it home, fixed it up & painted it & that was my wifes gift that year. Each kid had a story to tell about a"special" thing thtat they did together. Did they fight, you betcha,did they get in trouble, plenty. But would they ever change a single day. NOPE, they reallly had NOTHING, but Really HAD EVERYTHING. She wouldn't trade a single day for what this generation has. Give me back the 50's & 60's any day.

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80488mom 6 years, 6 months ago

Armchairqb

:-) Loved it........

I think I'm becoming my mother. She used to tell me stories of her childhood with such fondness and she grew up in the Depression. I think she would have gone back too in a heart beat. For 25 cents she, her brother and sister could go to the movies and still have money to share a popcorn. They'd walk to town and hop on the back of a farm truck to ride home.

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grannyrett 6 years, 6 months ago

We had parents who didn't make the mistake of trying to be our friends. They were the parents and we were the kids. Lots of love and respect for others were taught at home, and that's what kids are missing today.

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weallnutz 6 years, 6 months ago

Only in today's society would comments like "I can't afford to stay home with my children" be the norm. As we continue our slide towards a society without morals, I would think its more like....You can't afford not to!

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grannyrett 6 years, 6 months ago

If you work outside the home, you still have time to be a parent. I worked two jobs, and still had time to instill moral values in my children. It doesn't take a lot of time. It takes the desire to be a parent to your children. Cooking meals, doing laundry, and cleaning house are things that can be done with your children. There is always time to be a parent no matter how busy you are.

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twostroketerror 6 years, 6 months ago

Mom was single and working full time. She still had the time to make breakfast every morning, pack me a lunch, and come home and make dinner every night (except Friday, pizza night). She had time to read me stories, teach me about plants and birds, and patch my Toughskins. She taught me about work for wages (I still hate scraping paint). She explained religion, the Golden Rule, the rule of law, and the vast differences between them. She also had time to volunteer for the Audabon Society and read textbooks on tape for disabled students. She was, and still is, a parent, and a darn good one. I never heard 'I'm too busy'. I guess my point is, if you choose to become a parent, that is your new full time job. It takes time, caring, compassion and discipline. Thanks to all for the above posts, they are (mostly) a ray of sunshine on yet another snowing sideways day.

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424now 6 years, 6 months ago

The sun will come.

It days like these that make us appreciate the others.

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