Expanded kindergarten programs in the works
Expanded kindergarten programs in the works
Posted on 05/07/2014
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WEST HAVEN, May 5, 2014 — The school district is preparing to start an all-day kindergarten program at one school in the fall and extended-day kindergarten classes at two others as part of a broader plan to enhance early childhood education.

Administrators initially anticipated implementing all-day kindergarten at two schools next year, but determined it would not be viable if certain cuts were made to the proposed fiscal 2014-15 budget. However, a scaled-back version of the kindergarten proposal is expected to launch in the fall, thanks to numerous employee retirements, a shift of various expenses to grant funding, new projected energy savings, and City Council changes in next year’s budget.

The full-day kindergarten program is intended for all Savin Rock Community School kindergarten classes, while Forest Elementary School and Washington Elementary School would each have one extended-day kindergarten class.

The Board of Education will be presented with and asked to vote next month on a revamped budget that details this plan and fits within the amount of funding recently approved by the City-Council for the Board of Education’s fiscal 2014-15 operations.

Superintendent of Schools Neil C. Cavallaro said this long-awaited change will be one of the most significant additions to the school system in years and puts the district on a path toward eventually instituting full-day kindergarten at all city elementary schools.

“I’m thrilled that we will be expanding educational opportunities for our youngest students and can now start a program that most other towns and cities already have. The extra time and attention children will receive in the classroom is invaluable and will, no doubt, have a positive impact on their education,” Cavallaro said.

“This couldn’t have happened without our Finance Office’s continued budgetary work and grant research, our collaboration with City Council members and the Mayor’s Office, and some of our veteran faculty members opting to take the retirement incentive we drafted last month,” Cavallaro added.

The buildings set to accommodate the expanded kindergarten program have been identified as schools with populations that often need extra assistance. Savin Rock began offering an extended-day kindergarten program using grant money earlier this year and has already seen great success, according to Assistant Superintendent Anne Druzolowski.

“Full-day kindergarten benefits all learners, but it is especially crucial to those youngsters who may be struggling and need interventions and support. If we can better address their needs and put them on the right track at a younger age, they will see more academic success as they get older and move through school,” she said.