More details on how the Cedar Grove-Belgium School District will embed half-day 5-year-old kindergarten in its full-day program this year have been revealed.
Elementary School Principal Jeff Kondrakiewicz and three kindergarten teachers hosted a meeting last week to explain to parents how the program would work.
Kondrakiewicz said the half-day program will operate as it has in the past.
“It’s roughly the same,” he told a handful of parents. “It was a push through the morning.”
The morning schedule includes a 10-minute welcome time from 8:30 to 8:40, followed by a 20-minute math lesson and 30 minutes of phonics.
From 9:30 to 10:40 a.m., reading, writing, language and morning snack will be held.
Special classes such as art run from 10:45 to 11:35 a.m.
Half-day students will be picked up at 11:20 a.m. and be on the bus by 11:30 a.m. Special classes will be arranged to accommodate the schedule.
Full-day students will have intervention time between 11:35 a.m. and 12:15 p.m., followed by 50 minutes of lunch and recess.
From 1:10 to 2:25 p.m., reading, language arts and math centers will be held. Work may be sent home.
After a 15-minute recess, the day concludes with science, social studies and thematic studies from 2:40 to 3:35 p.m.
“Kids do miss out on things in the afternoon,” Kondrakiewicz said. “You have to make the right decision for your family.”
After the meeting, a few parents said they were frustrated that the decision to combine the half-day program was made without their input.
The School Board told parents about the plan via email on July 8, one day after a four-hour closed session meeting.
The changes were driven by a board decision in June to not replace two retiring teachers, with members citing low enrollment in the younger grades and higher enrollment in the upper ones.
As of June 8, fourth grade had a projected 85 students next year, while first and third had 68, second had 65 and both 4-K and kindergarten had 54 each.
Parents took issue with the decision, noting the board this summer approved using a $200,000 budget surplus from 2015-16 to pay down the Fitness Center loan.
Parents have the option to start their children in the half-day program and change to the full-day program at anytime. But if children start full day, they must remain full day the entire year, Kondraciewicz said.
Kindergarten teachers this year are Kim Brill, Molly DePagter and Nicole Velzke. All have taught kindergarten for at least nine years.
“These are three phenomenal teachers and three phenomenal communicators,” Kondraciewicz said.
He said the decision on which class to put half-day students will depend on enrollment. If four students sign up, one teacher would get all of them. If eight enroll, they would be split between two teachers. If 13 sign up, all three teachers would receive some half-day students.
The deadline for parents to choose the half or full-day program is Friday, Aug. 5.