Z-M kindergarten shifts to all dayApproval of a long-desired program will give Zumbrota-Mazeppa kindergartners a better chance to shine, district officials said.
By: Mike Longaecker, The Republican Eagle
Approval of a long-desired program will give Zumbrota-Mazeppa kindergartners a better chance to shine, district officials said.
Beginning next school year, Z-M will institute all-day, everyday kindergarten. Z-M School Board members approved the change at their Feb. 22 meeting.
Proponents of all-day, everyday kindergarten say the enhanced teacher contact time better prepares students for the rigors of everyday school life.
"We felt it was the best thing for the kids," said School Board Chairman Jim Wendt, adding that the hope is to "try to get them off to a real strong start."
The district had been in pursuit of the program from about three years, but kept it at a distance until funding became more stable.
"The problem always seemed to be, 'Can we afford to do it?'" Wendt said.
Z-M Supt. Rich Meyerhofer said that was accomplished last fall, when voters there approved a new referendum.
Meyerhofer said the program will comprise four sections of all-day, everyday kindergarten. The district has 2.5 full-time equivalent kindergarten teachers, but will shift one teaching position into kindergarten ranks.
He said the district must spend about $25,000 to fill out the fourth teaching position.
"We definitely want it to remain permanent," Meyerhofer said.
And if possible, district officials would like to see the program attract interest from parents outside the district. The more students districts enroll, the more they receive in state funding.
"That's what we want," Meyerhofer said. "That's what we're hoping for."
Goodhue County school districts that have all-day, everyday kindergarten include Red Wing and Kenyon-Wanamingo.
Red Wing administrators said the program has been a success since it was implemented in 2006. The program is at Sunnyside Elementary, where Principal Patti Roberts said teacher contact time has fueled enhanced academic, social and emotional development among students.
"I think it has been a tremendous investment," she said.