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'Great turnout' for all-day kindergarten

By: Sarat Pratapchandran

Feb. 17, 2007

A recent registration drive to enroll full-day kindergarten students at Tempe schools received a warm response from the community, according to school district officials.

“We had a great turnout for our annual kindergarten round-up but, unfortunately, we won’t have numbers for a few weeks. We’ll have to wait and see how it compares to last year, but we’re hearing good things from our schools,” said Monica Allread, public information coordinator for the Tempe School District.

This is the first time that Tempe, along with other school districts, is offering free full-day kindergarten to students as part of House Bill 2874. The bill, signed last June by Gov. Janet Napolitano, allots $118 million to support the implementation of full-day kindergarten.

Earlier, the Tempe School District offered only half-day kindergarten programs and had to provide its own funds.

According to Allread, the district enrolled 1,800 kindergarten students last year and expects to accommodate a similar number for this academic year. All schools in the district now offer this program, including Ward Traditional Academy.

The new full-day kindergarten program will not bring any changes to staffing levels for the school district, according to Allread.

“Since we have been offering free full-day kindergarten for so many years, we haven't had to hire new teachers this year,” Allread said.

The district official added that national studies have shown that students who attended full-day kindergarten had lower numbers of grade retentions and were twice as likely to reach third grade without repeating.

Locally, for Tempe, full-day kindergarten offers teachers more time in teaching a scientifically researched reading program offered by the district.

“The full-day allows teachers to go deeper into the lesson, so students are reading during their kindergarten year,” Allread said. Besides, English language learners tend to be more successful learning a second language
According to information posted on the Arizona Department of Education’s Web site, full-day kindergarten offers students “more time and opportunity to play with language" as well as to explore subjects in depth. Parents benefit with lower childcare costs while teachers get more time to spend with students.

Tempe offers an open enrolment policy and parents can call (480) 730-7305 if they have questions about open enrollment or registration.



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