F-M may implement full-day kindergarten in fall 2014

— Nearly 70 people turned out for the Fayetteville-Manlius Board of Education meeting on Dec. 9 with one question on their minds: will F-M switch to full-day kindergarten?

The short answer is: probably. Five F-M teachers presented an in-depth kindergarten study which outlined the benefits of making the switch, which include: reduced transportation costs, increased opportunities for parent contact, additional time for small group and individual instruction, a smoother transition to first grade and the opportunity to be more prepared for the new and rigorous challenges outlined in the Common Core.

“While we did very well [on the tests] in comparison to similar schools, we still have approximately 50 percent of our students who need to become proficient in English/Language Arts, as opposed to in the past when 85 or 90 percent of our students were proficient,” said Superintendent Corliss Kaiser, who announced her recommendation to switch to full-day kindergarten in September 2014 following the presentation. “At F-M, the board, our administration and our teachers support the Common Core. This is something that our children truly need to succeed, so we’ve taken a very good look at what the needs are, beginning in the early years for our children.”

F-M is one of just two districts not offering full-day kindergarten out of the 23 districts within the Onondaga/Cortland/Madison County BOCES region. Statewide, 95 percent of districts are implementing full-day kindergarten.

One of the benefits presented in the study outlines a major increase in instruction time for kindergarteners. In the current half-day system, teachers are able to provide reading and math instruction two or three days each week for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, a full-day program would allow for reading instruction five days a week for one hour and math instruction five days a week for 40 minutes, in addition to longer instruction times for science, social studies and special areas.

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