Starting next school year, Edina is likely to double down on all-day kindergarten program.
Currently, more than three quarters of students participate in Edina Public Schools’ all-day kindergarten option, and a wait list shows demand for more.
With the Minnesota Legislature appropriating $134 million toward all-day kindergarten programs across the state, the Edina school district is looking to take the axe to its part-day program—either eliminating it or consolidating it at one elementary.
The school board will vote on an administrative proposal to switch to all-day kindergarten starting in the 2014-15 school year at its Nov. 18 meeting.
“The research does show that students who are in a full-day kindergarten benefit more than those in half-day programs,” Director of Human Resources and Operations Gwen Jackson said at a school board meeting last week. “The half-day program is in all likelihood going to go away.”
A survey of Edina families with students enrolling in kindergarten in 2014 showed that 91 percent favored all-day kindergarten. But some school board members expressed doubts last week that the change could “alienate families.”
“I’m concerned we’re proposing a one-size fits all for kindergarten,” board member Sarah Patzloff said. “It’s all-day or nothing, and I do think that could cause concern for parents who want a half-day program.”
Jackson responded that schools will work with families to help students transition to kindergarten.“Just because we are offering all-day kindergarten doesn’t mean all of our kids are ready,” she said. “There are some children who are in a half-day program, and it doesn’t mean they’re necessarily ready either.”