October 8, 2008
Dist. 23 to Offer Full-Day Kindergarten for at-Risk Kids
By Sue Ter Maat
Prospect Heights Elementary District 23 will try a full-day kindergarten pilot program next school year for at-risk students.
Two full-day kindergarten classes - one at Ross Elementary, one at Eisenhower - will be offered to parents whose children scored in the bottom 20 percent on special assessment tests given to next fall's incoming kindergartners on April 25, officials said.
Hours for full-day kindergarten will be the same for the rest of the grades, from 8:25 a.m. to 2:25 p.m., said Superintendent Greg Guarrine.
This pilot program will be used to determine if the district moves to a full-day program for all kindergartners. The pilot program will cost the district $70,000 for the increased staffing.
About 25 of the district's 140 kindergartners will be part of the full-day program, Guarrine said. The remainder will be taught in the district's seven other half-day kindergarten classes at Ross and Eisenhower.
Last month, a committee recommended the program, saying research showed at-risk kids benefited most from full-day kindergarten, said Eisenhower kindergarten teacher Bonnie Zbaraz, who headed the panel's research.
A survey of parents of incoming kindergartners said they preferred full-day. Forty-nine Ross parents and 19 Eisenhower parents said they wanted full-day, Zbaraz said. Only six parents at Ross and five parents at Eisenhower wanted half-day kindergarten.
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