Could All-Day Kindergarten Be in Geneva By Next Year?

School Board members agree they want to pursue the option "aggressively," but many questions remain about cost, space and planning.

Geneva School Board members said Monday night that they want to aggressively pursue all-day kindergarten as an option for parents of School District 304 students.

But almost in the same breath, they expressed concerns about the cost, the curriculum and how equitable that option would be when some students will choose to stay in half-day classes.

"I would like us to pursue this aggressively," School Board Vice President Kelly Nowak said. "I think it’s way past time."

St. Charles School District 303 already has all-day kindergarten classes. The cost there is $219.44 per month, per student. Students attend kindergarten from 8:40 a.m. to 3 p.m., the same as other students. They are bussed to school and can purchase lunch or bring their own.

Geneva took a hard look at the option back in 2007 and 2008, creating a task force that recommended implementation of the full-day option. But the board decided not to pursue full-day kindergarten at that time, primarily because of the cost.

Among the costs that will be considered in the next several months are the space requirements at schools, transportation, lunch programs and the estimated addition of 8.5 kindergarten teachers. A full list of "to-do's" is provide on the School District 304 website.

"It’s going to take at least a year of study to see how this might be implemented," District 304 Superintendent Kent Mutchler told the board Monday night.

School Board member Bill Wilson said he felt implementation by the 2014-15 school year would be "very aggressive" and 2015-16 would be more realistic.

Typically, parents must pay an additional fee for full-day kindergarten classes. Some families can't afford those fees and others simply will prefer to opt for a half-day. Wilson and the other board members said they were concerned about the equitability of a system in which some students attend half-day classes and others full-day classes.

"There’s going to have to be some way to make sure all of these kids are on the same par when they transfer to first grade," Wilson said.

Board members agreed to establish a task force to examine the contingencies of implementing full-day kindergarten. School Board President Mark Grosso suggested a forum to gather public input, and Nowak and boardmember Mary Stith said they'd like to see a timeline put together as quickly as possible.

Driving some of the urgency is the adoption of a common-core curriculum mandated by the state of Illinois and adopted by most states in U.S. The target date for implementation of the new common-core assessment is the 2014‐15 school year, so Geneva educators are hoping that the planning of all-day kindergarten can be incorporated with the planning for common-core curriculum.

"As we look at common core, we have to be thinking how it fits in," Nowak said.

Geneva schools did improve the kindergarten curriculum as a result of the studies it did in 2007 and 2008, starting the "Foundations" program for students who needed academic help in preparation for first grade.

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How do you feel about the possibility of full-day kindergarten classes? Let us know your thoughts in the comments field.

Ellabulldog July 23, 2013 at 11:10 PM
should have done it years ago, silly that they have to study something they know they should do and already did a study, if someone can't afford it too bad, it is Geneva and it would be optional, other kids go to preschool and will be ahead of the other kids who have watched tv the first 5 years of their life, so lets bring the other kids down to their level seems to be a silly argument
Scarlett O'hara July 24, 2013 at 04:21 AM
Full day does NOT work. Children need to acclimate to their environment. Just because someone doesn't want their child home half the day is not going to further their education on a growing stand point. Children need to be eased into learning to appreciate it. As far as the comment above, "if they can't afford it too bad" very disappointed one can feel that way. What a way to think about the future of America. Such a warm heart, truly looking out for the children. What we need to care about is the quality. A child so young needs proper time for learning and rest. They aren't ready for a full day yet! They are in kindergarten not college, they are just beginning their education. A mother should spend this time acclimating her children to school while fostering home life at the same time. Let's preserve the tender years and enjoy their first days of school whole celebrating our time with our precious children. We can't get back these days, time only moves forward.
Beavis July 24, 2013 at 08:58 AM
I agree with Ellabulldog. Let's spend (aka waste) more time studying what we already know. Full day kindergarten can work. I think it's truly disappointing when someone says can/does NOT. A number of current adults attended full day kindergarten and they have turned out quite well and normal, whatever normal is. The brain can learn so much that we haven't discovered its full potential so being in a classroom for what would amount to less than 6 hours per day is not going to harm any child. Besides, if they were participating in pre-school they are already use to 2.5 hours of school in a day. In terms of not being able to afford it, that's just a fact. Not every family earns the same amount of money nor has the same career/job. If a family cannot afford it then the child only has half a day. No big deal. If people want all children to attend then one would need to raise the property tax to hire the teachers necessary to accomplish this. One of the challenges with today's education system is that there are people who think that kids learn at the same pace, thus being held back or pushed forward by the "curriculum". There is no reason that the kids learning at a faster pace shouldn't be able to accelerate quicker than those learning at a slower pace. We should be thinking about overhauling the education system. If you want more time with your children then think about home schooling them.
Libby Gracey July 24, 2013 at 10:50 AM
We just moved from the city. My son was in an all day preschool program and is beginning to read. Half day Kindergartens are behind the times. It is a matter of fact that kids are learning more things more quickly than we did as children. As a former educator and supporter of learning through play, I have changed my tune based on what I have seen in my own children. My oldest was not prepared and struggled early on while my 4 yr old could go to Kindergaren tomorrow and do great but due to his age,he has to be in another year of half day preschool. I don't think a full day is a matter of an acclimation issue- kids are resilient and to create a robust full day program will only give them the confidence and love of learning they will need for years to come. I am in full support of a full day program and I think parents should not settle for any less as it is a disservice to your children.
Kathy M July 24, 2013 at 11:09 AM
If you do not wish to try the links provided, try a Google search yourselves using the phrase: school ratings after going to full day kindergarten http://www.bridgew.edu/Library/CAGS_Projects/CMCAULIFFE/website/revoResDocs/fVsH.htm http://www.region10ct.org/pdf/Full-Day%20Kindergarten%20and%20Academic%20Achievement%20Hanover.pdf I found the following at the above link: while achievement at the end of the kindergarten year was much higher for full-day kindergarten students, those gains had been cut in half for math scores and eliminated entirely for reading scores by the end of first grade. I simply question how full-day will stress our funds for the results not just in kindergarten but on the entire Special Needs group. Students who need help but are not considered “severe” are often short changed where if just a bit more had been available they too could truly flourish.
Jennifer Fuhrmann July 24, 2013 at 11:22 AM
Finally! I fully support full day Kindergarten and it has NOTHING to do with me not wanting my children home with me. In fact I take offense to that. Putting time and effort into Early Childhood education can only benefit children later on. Studies show that a good, developmentally appropriate program gives students the basic reading and math skills they need to succeed. This is what I think is wrong with our education system. Schools end up trying to "fix" the problem when they find kids not having high enough test scores in later elementary years or even high school. If the students got the proper start in Early Education I think a good portion of that could be avoided. I'm not suggesting having kindergarteners at desks all day doing worksheets. But an engaging, developmentally appropriate Full day program is completely acceptable at this age. I thought our Kindergarten teacher did a fantastic job within the short timeframe she had to work with. However, it was a crammed day and my son would often tell me they didn't have time for "open choice playtime." This is a crucial element that this age group needs. It's only to our children's benefit to make this full day program a reality in our school system.
Mitch Dinges July 24, 2013 at 10:07 PM
Can't hurt to teach the kids to learn "teach to the test" at any age. Disaster.
Ellabulldog July 24, 2013 at 10:30 PM
kids who are ahead come backwards because the first grade teacher is teaching down to the kids who did not have full day of kindergarten. a kid who has had pre-school will lose the advantage because the kindergarten teacher will teach to the kids that can't count yet, don't know their abc's, and don't know phonics, and the kids that can will sit there learning nothing in the measly 2.5 hours, kids like school at this age, a full day is no big deal, it is fun for them, they around a bunch of kids their own age and learning new and fun stuff,
Ellabulldog July 24, 2013 at 10:46 PM
Scarlett, if you want to stay home with your kid you can, full day is optional If you dislike my comment about being able to afford the extra half day you are a hypocrite. If you are paying Geneva School taxes you are doing so because YOU can afford it and the poor in Chicago and other areas can not.
Scarlett O'hara July 24, 2013 at 10:59 PM
Excuse me???? You don't know me so Don't bring the Drama to a page about schools. I don't pay the taxes here because I can't afford them, I live with family who are struggling with the taxes we are selling this house to move out west. My son and myself are both disabled. We receive link and Medicaid. Don't open your mouth until the facts are known. Now that I was forced to admit something about my life to strangers I would like to have kept hidden because I had to defend myself to a stranger. There everyone, not everyone in this town are wealthy. Maybe it would thrill you if I moved back to the city. Bet you know the color of my skin as well.....
Lulu Phillips July 24, 2013 at 11:33 PM
Oh Scarlett sorry this has happened I just joined this website:( you aren't alone, my family needs a little aide too. I don't agree with full day either. It's hard to pay for school if you have more kids or disabled. I have an autism spectrum son and I hope if the school spends money it's on special classes for autism not full day. I'm going to say a prayer for you and your family.
Ellabulldog July 24, 2013 at 11:54 PM
wow, you are sensitive Scarlett, way too much info, but you are not sharing anything because unless you are really named scarlett I don't know you, my original comment was aimed at Geneva taxpayers who should be able to afford extra kindergarten, which I find out you are not one, fyi the taxes here are outrageous and we can't afford them either, Scarlett you are free to live anywhere you can, we can discuss whether taxpayers and others should support you and your child/children in another section if you would like? Not sure why you brought that up? Please share why someone who pays $10000 a year in taxes can't pay another $5000 to send their own child to full day? If they can? If you can't that is life but it is optional in other districts near here. Not sure why you would bring up skin color? Scarlett O'Hara probably not the best moniker for someone to pick as she was a slave holder in the book/movie until the war messed that up.
Ellabulldog July 25, 2013 at 12:44 AM
A post I wrote never showed up. Scarlett I don't know you nor did you have to share this information unless you are looking for drama or sympathy. My comment was aimed at Geneva taxpayers having the OPTION of paying extra. I said "if" you are paying taxes you are a hypocrite. Please then enlighten me as to why I was wrong to say that if someone wants to pay more for extra kindergarten and you can't it is bad? The article questioned if it was equitable. My point was the article made an argument that if everyone can't afford to pay then they would not do full day. That is a silly argument and St. Charles allows parents the option. If you can't afford it your child gets a half day education that you want and that is all that is offered anyway. If they give the option I pay more and my child gets the full day. Now should the district offer free full day of course and then all the kids win. We can have another separate dialogue about your situation if you want, color of your skin? who cares?
Scarlett O'hara July 25, 2013 at 01:19 AM
Color of your skin, who care?? That true if you have black skin then no one cares what happens to your kids. There is a dead boy and his killer walked free and all you grip about is your child getting full day. Done if us have to worry about our children getting shot for that skin color. There is not enough proof that that full day working to spend on it when they cut music and lack programs for special needs. You come on here all high and mighty like you know it all cutting people down without knowing them is what's wrong with everyone. If you don't know my story don't speak. Justice For Trayvon!!!
Scarlett O'hara July 25, 2013 at 02:20 AM
LuLu thank you for the prayers much appreciated. It's nice to know that people are still praying. It was brave of you to say what you said, I'm praying for you and yours.
Ellabulldog July 25, 2013 at 07:27 AM
I can gripe about more:) I could go on about individuals that use the system for handouts but have all the time in the world to spend on the internet yet can't support themselves:) Not saying that is you, you may be a wounded vet with a special needs child who was orphaned as a baby and are widowed unexpectedly.... but why bring this all up anyway? I was just talking about kindergarten, in a community where people "most, not you" pay outrageous taxes and don't have this offered to their children. I believe Geneva has great programs for kids with special needs, not sure how the Trayvon came up in a discussion on full day kindergarten?, Where are your children taking music lessons? There are many great places in town. Should schools teach music? Not every kid is talented. Of course that is for another discussion board too. I don't want to know your situation nor ever asked, seems you like to get support like from Lulu, you questioned my heart for children really? all based on a simple comment about kindergarten, so you can say stuff on here yet don't like responses to your posts? Trayvon?? really where does that fit in here? Of course that is for another discussion board. also Scarlett if you think about it your moniker is the name of a character in a book that was a slave owner,
Lulu Phillips July 25, 2013 at 11:10 AM
@ella Do not reference me in your posts. You come across as a bully. The post you mentioned me in was sarcastic and self serving. She never asked me to support her, I chose to after reading the posts. Geneva Patch is not the site I thought it was. I thought it was community, instead it's Jerry Springer. I hope the owner of this blog pulls it down.
Scarlett O'hara July 25, 2013 at 11:59 AM
My mother named me Scarlett, a name in the family before THAT book came along. I married a man named O'Hara and took the name so I would have the same name as my children. I am aware of my name but thank you for pointing it out......tacky
Lulu Phillips July 25, 2013 at 12:50 PM
I joined Geneva Patch for both the selling page and community. I posted on here yesterday because I had identified with Ms O'Hara and wanted her to feel less alone. Since that post its been a war on here! All I see are two childish and insensitive women who have to have the last word go and attack each other. BOTH of you come across as racially intolerant of each other. This is supposed to be Geneva community? I'm disgusted by BOTH of you and ashamed to say I'm from Geneva. If you want to keep this immature fight up please, please keep me out of it. Respond to me as you like but do not expect a reply. I'm probably turning off this account, it isn't what I thought it would be. My attention needs to go to my son not either one of you.
Ellabulldog July 25, 2013 at 06:55 PM
wow lulu, really you maybe need to not be on here if posts between two people that doesn't concern you can effect you so much, if you are new to this type of thing don't believe everything that is written, also not everything is going to be all nice when people disagree, and it is ok to disagree, how am I racially intolerant? you don't even know what color I am, Scarlett brought up race for no reason.. and brought other nonsense in to what was supposed to be a discussion about schools, not color, not economic status, not Trayvon for sure anyways have fun on here if you want, hope you sell some stuff, and my name is really Ella and I married a Bulldog...:) yes another dig at Miss Scarlett


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