Polk County itemizer observer. (Dallas, Or) 1992-current, January 07, 2015, Image 14

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    14A Polk County Itemizer-Observer • January 7, 2015
Polk County Schools/Education
All-day kindergarten examined
Local districts
are considering
state option for
2015-16 year
Budget committee
members needed
By Jolene Guzman
The Itemizer-Observer
mouth Elementary School
kindergarten teacher
Samantha Henderson has
the names and photos of her
smiling students posted on a
two-sided board in her class-
room. One side is her morn-
ing class roster; on the other,
her afternoon class.
Henderson, like many
other kindergarten teachers,
leads two half-day sessions,
each about 2½ hours long.
That may change next year
in Polk County school dis-
tricts — and others across the
state — as schools prepare to
offer full-day kindergarten.
Following the passage of
House Bill 248 in 2011, start-
ing in 2015-16, the state is re-
quired to pay for full-day
kindergarten in those dis-
tricts who choose to offer it.
With that in mind, local
school districts appear to be
moving toward offering full-
day kindergarten.
Falls City and Perrydale
have already made their de-
cisions, choosing to make
the move come fall.
Central School District is
gearing up for full-day
kindergarten next year, but is
keeping a close watch on
funding, said Superintendent
Buzz Brazeau.
Dallas School District’s
Board will begin discussions
in February.
For Falls City, the decision
was easy. Through its FACES
after-school program, the
district offers kindergarteners
a half-day supplemental pro-
gram after traditional class is
over, said Falls City Superin-
tendent Jack Thompson.
“The kids are already in
school all day, every day,”
Thompson said.
JOLENE GUZMAN/ Itemizer-Observer
Monmouth Elementary School teacher Samantha Henderson works with students in her morning kindergarten class.
The supplemental session
focuses on classroom behav-
ior, developing social skills
and enrichment activities.
The kindergarten classroom
assistant oversees the pro-
gram, so is already working
full time. That means the
only major cost is moving
the part-time teacher to full
time, Thompson said.
Perrydale School District
followed suit, making a deci-
sion to offer full-day kinder-
garten earlier this year.
For Dallas and Central,
implementing full-day
kindergarten will require
more staffing and classroom
Dallas Interim Superin-
tendent Dennis Engle said
the move would mean pro-
viding space, teachers and
teaching assistants for two
more classrooms at both
Lyle and Oakdale Heights el-
ementary schools.
“We are working to make
sure we have the ability to
offer full-day kindergarten,”
Engle said.
At Central School District,
preparation is already well
under way, Brazeau said.
Cost estimates for expand-
ing to full day won’t be final
until the district begins
working on developing its
2015-16 budget, but he said
the first year will come with
one-time expenses for new
“Everybody is excited as
well as apprehensive,” he
said. “It will be a strain on
the buildings and a strain on
To ease that burden,
school officials have been
visiting other schools with
full-day kindergarten to see
how those districts are run-
ning their programs.
“We are looking at it in
every way possible to do the
best job for the kids to set
the stage for them to go to
school,” Brazeau said.
School officials believe the
effort is worth the potential
benefit to students.
“We think it’s good for our
kids,” said Brazeau. “There is
a marked difference in how
well the kids are prepared
entering first grade.”
Engle said the studies dis-
trict officials have reviewed
point to full-day kinder-
garten providing a stronger
foundation for achieving
crucial benchmarks, such as
grade-level reading by third
grade, a key indicator of fu-
ture academic success.
Henderson said having a
full day to work with stu-
dents will make it easier to
cover the increasing amount
of state learning standards
for kindergarteners.
She said kindergarten is
becoming “the new first
grade” and it’s difficult to
“balance the discovery of
kindergarten with the rigor
of first grade” in a half day.
“I feel like I’m trying to
squeeze things in,” Hender-
son said.
She does have logistical
concerns, though, such as
creating a full-day schedule
and finding the room need-
ed to offer full-day classes.
Answering those ques-
tions will in part come down
to funding for school dis-
tricts. Gov. John Kitzhaber
included $220 million in his
2015-17 budget recommen-
dation for full-day kinder-
Engle said the amount
should be adequate, as long
as it is in addition to — and
not taken from — funding
already designated for edu-
cation. Kitzhaber’s budget is
simply a proposal. It’s in the
hands of the state legislature
to pound out a final figure.
Brazeau said he hopes the
legislature will designate
more funding than
Kitzhaber did.
“If the budget is not there,
we will relook at it,” Brazeau
DENCE — The Central School
District is seeking candidates
to fill two positions on its
budget committee.
The positions are for
Zones 1 and 7. Candidates
should reside within one of
these zones. However, if the
district’s board of directors
does not receive qualified
candidates from within the
zone, an out-of-zone ap-
pointment may be made.
Zone 1 — Includes Inde-
pendence north of Mon-
mouth Street, with a term
from Feb. 2 to June 30, 2017.
Zone 7 — Includes areas
outside the city limits of
Monmouth and Independ-
ence, including the portion
of the school district in Mari-
on and Benton counties and
south of the Monmouth-Falls
City state highway, with a
term from Feb. 2 to June 30,
Applicants must submit a
letter of interest by Jan. 23 at
4:30 p.m. to the Central
School Board, Central School
District 13J, 750 S. Fifth St.,
Independence, OR 97351.
Appointments will be made
Feb. 2.
For more information:
503-838-0030, ext. 2251.
Dental van coming
to Perrydale School
PERRYDALE — Perrydale
School will hold a free dental
screening for students and
the public on Thursday.
Local dentists will donate
their time to offer free gener-
al dental screenings and
basic services. Also available
during the event will be re-
sources for health, vision and
dental insurance, senior
services and child care.
Screenings will be open to
the public from 3:30 to 7:30
p.m. at the school, 7445 Per-
rydale Road. All ages are wel-
come. The event is spon-
sored by Perrydale School
District and Perrydale Serv-
ice Integration Team.
For more information: Per-
rydale School, 503-623-2040.