November 26, 2014

AGS Board implements all-day everyday kindergarten

By John Fischer|Staff writer
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AuGRES — The AuGres-Sims Area School District (AGS) will make the transition to full-day kindergarten beginning next year.

According to AGS Superintendent Gary Marchel, the district is making the switch at the request of parents.

“Kids from the area were going to other schools for one year,” Marchel said. He added all of the other school districts in the area already use the full-day system slated to become mandatory in the 2010-11 school year.

Previously, AGS kindergarten classes were divided into two groups, Marchel says. Students would attend all day Monday and Wednesday and just in the morning on Fridays; or all day Tuesday and Thursday with only afternoon sessions on Fridays.

“We did it that way because it saved us four additional bus runs,” Marchel said.

He says by rearranging teachers in the middle school and elementary, AGS won’t incur any additional costs in transitioning to five full day sessions, even though it plans to hire an additional instructor to accommodate for the projected 39 incoming kindergarteners — up from the 28-29 students AGS previously averaged in its kindergarten.

“[Last year] we had three special education teachers in the middle school and high school. Our special education numbers are dropping next year so we’ll only need two teachers. [Due to] that we can hire another kindergarten teacher,” Marchel said. “We have four extra rooms in the elementary. … So we don’t have a problem as far as space availability.”

He also says converting to full-day kindergarten has an added educational benefit.

“Research shows students do better (when they attend full-day kindergarten) in the next three years, until fourth grade where they tend to even out,” Marchel said. “So we’re looking for that short-term benefit to help students have less problems in subjects like math and reading.”

The superintendent says rumors have surfaced lately regarding the much-discussed legislation making it mandatory for all Michigan school districts to offer full-day kindergarten.

“I’ve heard it (deadline of 2010 for all day kindergarten to be implemented) might be pushed back because of the financial [crisis] going on right now,” Marchel said. “But we’re not going to allow that to affect our decision.”

The AGS Board of Education voted to implement all-day, everyday kindergarten on April 20.

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