All-Day Kindergarten Approved for District 203 Schools

Naperville District 203 Board of Education implements all-day kindergarten for seven schools beginning fall 2013.

Half of the 14 Naperville School District 203 elementary schools will now offer all-day kindergarten beginning next year, after school board members approved the proposal Monday.

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All-day kindergarten will be implemented at seven Title 1 schools, which are schools with a large low-income student population. Those seven schools are Ellsworth, Naper, Elmwood, Mill, River Woods, Scott and Beebe.

Issues concerning costs and space for students still need to be worked out before the program will be made available at the remaining half of District 203 elementary schools, according to district officials.

Superintendent Dan Bridges said there are “viable options” for creating classroom space within the seven Title 1 schools.

“That being said, we have facilities that present some challenges because of their design, their location, the facility itself,” Bridges added.

Two schools will need renovations in order to make room for the all-day kindergarten program. Remodeling at Ellsworth Elementary is estimated to cost $300,000 with a target completion date for the summer of 2013. Also, a $1 million addition would be needed for Naper, which wouldn’t be completed until the summer of 2014. 

The district has currently spent $380,000 in start-up costs during the 2012-13 school year for the program. Once all-day kindergarten is implemented, operating costs for next school year are estimated to be about $928,000.

On Monday night, board member Dave Weeks raised concerns regarding class size once all-day kindergarten is implemented in fall 2013. However, officials said the district would still be able to accommodate students within a reasonable class size.

“We don’t anticipate that this is negatively going to impact class size,” Bridges said.

In terms of curriculum, officials said math and literacy programs for all-day kindergarten are not completely written, but will be completed this spring.

Students in all-day kindergarten will have about 55 additional minutes for math per day compared to half-day kindergarten and about 60 extra minutes for language arts.

District 203 Board of Education approved the all-day kindergarten proposal by a 6-1 vote Monday night, with Weeks dissenting.

Weeks said there is value in an all-day kindergarten program, especially for at-risk children, but he had concerns over costs as well as implementing the program for only half of the district’s elementary schools. 

“There’s no way that this community will stand for half of our schools having all-day kindergarten and half of them not,” Weeks said. “And we are committing ourselves, at a time when we have no idea what are budget restraints are going to be, to huge expenditures.”

“If we wait for Springfield to make any decisions, we will be waiting a long time and I think that we have to move forward,” Board member Suzyn Price said. 

Will you have children enrolled for all-day kindergarten next year? Let us know in the comments.

Dan F. January 09, 2013 at 04:29 PM
Metaphor alert! Pull over, buddy.
Ghost of Joseph Napier January 09, 2013 at 04:34 PM
Alternately, at least spell my name correctly.
Rich K January 10, 2013 at 11:26 PM
Here is what I am curious about. For a school to qualify as a Title I school, 40 percent of its total enrollment must come from low-income families. Generally, this determination is made by looking at the number of students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch programs. This measurement has become so standardized that most schools use their free or reduced-price lunch enrollment as a shorthand for the economic demographics of their student body. Read more: The Definition of Title 1 Schools | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/info_7869750_definition-title-1-schools.html#ixzz2HcNdRt7C I live in one of the areas where they designate it as a Title 1 school. I find it hard to believe that we live in a low income area.
MommyOf3 January 13, 2013 at 12:12 AM
Hi Rich, I understand why you would feel that way. Our school is title 1 also, and we do not live in a low income neighborhood, and our school is right in the middle of our subdivision, we still have a growing low income student population. 10 years ago the apartment complex up the road only yielded a 2% free and reduced lunch population to our school, now it's up to 20%. Sadly, where a small at risk population actually benefited from our great school, the larger population now dose not benefit and is making it worse (a lot!) When they are surrounded by a greater number of other at risk kids, there is less motivation to rise to the level of the other students. The low income parents that send their kids to our school do not take advantage of the opportunity at all, and they just leach all of the resources and crap all over the hand outs they are given. It's heartbreaking, because it doesn't help the kids at all. I have a friend that would love to send her child to a Naperville 203 school but her family can't afford to live in Naperville. Sad that the least motivated of our society are given the most opportunity. It's just bad for everyone. And don't even get me started about how the parents bring the kids a half hour late EVERY day (no joke) don't follow carpool rules, and rarely get out of their pajamas even for afternoon pick up...and that's the parents that actually bother to see the kids to and from school!
MommyOf3 January 13, 2013 at 12:12 AM
Having said all that, I think the article might be misleading though, sighting low income students as a reason for ADK. At a meeting with the superintendent last year it was made very clear that it was because of common core standards. I can already see the change in the intensity of my child's schoolwork.


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