Cumberland Valley School District officials propose lengthening extended-day kindergarten classes into full-day sessions at one of the district elementary schools early next year.
At Tuesday night’s school board meeting, Superintendent David Christopher introduced a proposal that would implement a pilot program at Middlesex Elementary School that would change the dismissal time for extended-day kindergarten students to 3:35 p.m., the same time as other elementary grades. Currently, all extended-day kindergarten students in the district are dismissed each day at 2:15 p.m.
“We are now dismissing extended-day kindergarten at the worst possible time of day,” Christopher told the school board on Tuesday.
Administrators are proposing the time change to improve transportation efficiency. Transporting extended-day kindergarten students to their homes each day at 2:15 p.m. often results in a domino effect of the same buses running late for dismissals at the middle school and high school, Christopher said. As a result, buses then tend to run late for general elementary level dismissals at 3:35 p.m., with some elementary students waiting as late as 4:15 p.m. for their buses.
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Administrators propose that the district to initiate the pilot program at Middlesex at the end of the first semester of the school year, which occurs in late January and before the start of the spring sports season. District buses will be needed then in the early afternoon to transport student athletes to spring sports competitions.
Christopher said Middlesex is proposed for the pilot program because of location and that all of the building’s kindergarten classes run on an extended-day basis. The school has three extended-day classes of 22 students each. The district initiated extended-day kindergarten classes several years ago for students who were determined to need extra academic help. Administrators said they see expanding the school day for these students as beneficial. The district also would receive more state subsidy funding because the classes would be considered a full school day.
Cumberland Valley offers extended-day sessions, in addition to traditional half-day morning and afternoon classes, at most of its elementary buildings. The exceptions are Green Ridge Elementary School, which sends its extended-day kindergarten students to Shaull Elementary School, and Silver Spring Elementary School, which sends students of this classification to Hampden Elementary School, according to Gregory Milbrand, assistant superintendent for elementary education.
The school board is expected to vote on the extended-day kindergarten time change for Middlesex on Dec. 16. If the Middlesex pilot is successful, officials might consider changing dismissal times for all extended-day kindergarten in the district for 2020-21.