Northport may resume full-day kindergarten
Northport Public School could be moving back to full-day kindergarten for the 2009-10 school year.
At a work session meeting Monday, the Northport Board of Education viewed a presentation from kindergarten teacher Margie Tropf about the school’s kindergarten program. Currently, the district has a half-day program for it kindergarten students. The kindergartners may also attend a half-day session offered through the Leelanau Children’s Center.
The district moved to a half-day kindergarten class in 2004 as a cost-saving measure.
Board president Denise Branch said the board will continue its discussion at its March 9 board meeting. Branch said the Michigan Department of Education is increasing requirements for how long a kindergarten class must be in session starting next fall. “The minimum for next year is kindergarten classes must be in session for at least 60 percent of the school day,” she said. The requirement will be increased each year, according to Branch’s understanding from the state, until each district has full-day kindergarten.
It is not just increasing time requirements from state officials that may move Northport to change back to a full-day kindergarten. Branch said the state is also requiring the teaching of social studies and science at the kindergarten level as well.
“Margie said there just isn’t enough time in a half-day to provide instruction on those subjects as well as everything else to the kindergartners,” Branch said.
Branch said moving to a full-day kindergarten will have other ramifications. “This will impact our afterschool program for the kindergartners provided by the Children’s Center, as well as our budget,” she said.
The afterschool program for kindergartners starts at 12:30 p.m. in a classroom near the kindergarten room in the Northport school building. Branch said the board’s discussion Monday was preliminary and no final decision has been reached. But, she also said the board can’t take a long time to reach a decision. She encouraged parents or community members with questions to attend the board’s March 9 meeting or to speak with superintendent Jeff Tropf.