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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.

Courtney Lynn January 08, 2013 at 10:24 AM
It's Dave Weeks, not Dan.
Gerard Schilling January 08, 2013 at 11:33 AM
Since when is day care part of the educational system paid for by 45% of Naperville citizens who have no children in this system? What’s next a peds clinic at every school? We already provide three meals a day, classes in Spanish for our illegals disguised as a second language program etc. This is just another scam to grow the bureaucracy and build their empire of overpaid ,underworked government employee elitist who by the way make more in outright payroll, benefits and pension then their employers (you). Our school taxes will rise another 4 to 5% this year while enrollment is down and their employment is up. Wait until the teacher's contract comes up again in the spring and see what this symbiotic Board/Union group gives away again. Nothing like the fox watching the hen house!
Gerard Schilling January 08, 2013 at 01:18 PM
Maybe we could just turn the kids over to the state and let it take care of them. This would be in keeping with the liberal philosophy of avoiding responsibility for anything especially the upbringing of their kids. It’s no wonder we have an amoral, fiscally irresponsible, anti-American population of narcissists and they will continue to breed more of them until they destroy all vestiges of this once great country.
GardenMadel January 08, 2013 at 01:43 PM
Geez Gerard.....who dropped coal in your stocking? Probably one of those dirty, free loading "Liberals" and their children..... I'm going to assume that you are just one of those cranky old men who has little joy in his life other than writing very nasty comments about this community and children. Maybe if you spent your time volunteering in the schools or somewhere in this community..... instead of sitting home and listening to Rush, you'd see the joy in the world again. You are a very sad man my friend and you need an attitude adjustment.
Gerard Schilling January 08, 2013 at 02:06 PM
Could be your eating to many mushrooms from your garden and can’t see the trees from the forest. Burying you head in the sand or peat moss doesn’t make the problems go away.
GardenMadel January 08, 2013 at 02:30 PM
Sure Gerard....sure.
Kara P January 08, 2013 at 05:51 PM
The renovations planned for Ellsworth are inadequate and add to an already existing overcrowding problem.
Caryn Outlaw January 08, 2013 at 06:55 PM
This is way past due. District 203 is one of the few remaining districts with half day Kindergarten. The entire state of Indiana has had full day Kindergarten by law for years now.
Caryn Outlaw January 08, 2013 at 06:57 PM
Gerard, do you have a positive and maybe useful suggestion for how to move forward? Or do you just have nasty comments because you are afraid of change? Did you attend these schools growing up?
Gerard Schilling January 08, 2013 at 07:47 PM
Cut and or freeze the school budgets to pay off our debts so that when not if the state back charges our pension liabilities we don’t go bankrupt. If the schools are going to provide free day care paid for by the taxpayer then charge the families the going rate for these services instead of claiming it is for the benefit of the kids. The same is true for the free food programs, counseling services and all the other unjustified programs these liberals always propose. They are great when spending other peoples money. Try spending your own for a change!
Jennifer Evers January 08, 2013 at 09:59 PM
This isn't about day care. It's about educating our children. As a stay at home parent of small children in 203, I am thrilled to hear that my youngest will be able to benefit from an all day program as opposed to me having to find her a 1/2 day private kindergarten to supplement her public school kindergarten option as I did for my oldest. Lets make positive, proactive suggestions and be willing to donate our time and resources to making changes happen, instead of spending time spewing negativity and conspiracy theories. This is a fabulous community that we live in. I pay my property taxes so that my children have the benefits of our amazing school district. Lets do all we can to make it successful.
QualityEducation203.org January 09, 2013 at 03:50 AM
Instituting of ADk in 203 is a logical outgrowth of the District's implementation of the Common Core State Standards. It is important to understand these standards expect more from students and expect it sooner. Getting our children the necessary additional time, even though it is Kindergarten, is critical to getting them off to the right start. For parents who have or will have children in public schools, my best recommendation to you is to educate yourself on the Common Core, what your school district is doing in the way of implementation and realize that your student will have to work harder to master the material. The Common Core asks that students don't simply be able to find the right answer. They need to understand why it is the right answer and be able to defend the "why". It is going to be a very exciting time in education in the coming years, but parents and students simply must up their game if it is going to be successful.
Joe Naper January 09, 2013 at 02:17 PM
Don't engage Gerard Schilling! He is nothing more than a TEA Party radical that thinks all forms of government are bad. He bloviates, name-calls and has true hatred for ANYONE that doesn't see the world his way. He can't debate issues, all he can do is dictate to others how the world MUST be... his way or you're a fool. Watch how quickly he pounces on my opposition to him...
Gerard Schilling January 09, 2013 at 04:12 PM
Look up the word projection Joe and have the guts to sign your real name.
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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