Coming this fall: new half days, full-day kindergarten for all | Mukilteo Schools
Each year, as spring nears, many of us at the school district are already busy gazing into the future and planning for the next school year. We are already looking at enrollment forecasts for next fall, doing preliminary work on budgets and making decisions about changes that will be coming to our schools.
Among those coming changes are a couple that will be of high interest to many of our families.
For the past many years, students have been dismissed early during the school year to provide teachers the opportunity to attend training sessions, collaborate on ways to improve the work that they do, complete report cards and do other administrative tasks that they are unable to do when students are in their classrooms. The current school year includes 16 of these early-dismissal days, or what many people call half days.
We often heard from parents and staff members who expressed concerns about the lack of consistency of when the half days were scheduled and how they didn’t allow enough time to get much accomplished in classrooms. So, when we negotiated the new contract with the teachers’ union last summer, we reached an agreement to eliminate those half days beginning next year. In their place, students will be dismissed 75 minutes early on Friday afternoons.
Called Learning Improvement Time, it will mean that high school students will be dismissed at 12:45 p.m. instead of the 11:20 a.m. dismissal they currently have on half days, middle schoolers will be dismissed at 1:30 p.m. instead of noon and elementary students will be dismissed at 2:10 p.m. on those Fridays.
The Learning Improvement Time will provide our teachers with the same amount of time for training and other tasks that they had before. At the same time, students will have a longer and more productive school day on those shortened days.
The other big change is one that I’ve discussed already. Beginning next fall, we will be able to offer full-day kindergarten for every kindergarten student in the school district.
Not only is it the state law, full-day kindergarten has been a dream of ours for many years, but was something we couldn’t do because to switch from half-day sessions to full-day sessions, we needed twice as many classrooms. Those classrooms simply weren’t available.
We presented that problem to the voters in our school district three years ago and they responded by approving a package of construction projects that not only included a new elementary school, but also a new school to be built only for kindergarteners. The new elementary opened its doors last fall and is now known as Lake Stickney Elementary. The kindergarten school is currently under construction behind Fairmount Elementary in south Everett and will be open when the 2017-18 school year begins on September 6.
Two schools, Fairmount and Lake Stickney, will send all of their kindergarten students to the new kindergarten center. Four other schools – Challenger, Discovery, Odyssey, and Olivia Park—will have some full-day kindergarten sessions at their school while other students in their attendance areas will go to the kindergarten center.
All students living within the Columbia, Endeavour, Horizon, Mukilteo, Picnic Point, and Serene Lake attendance areas will attend full-day kindergarten classes at their schools.
Registration for next year’s kindergarten classes gets underway at each of our elementary schools next Monday, March 6. Parents who want more detail on where their kindergartener will go to school next year should check our website at www.mukilteo.wednet.edu. You’ll find maps and other material that should help, as well as details on where to register and what information you should bring to registration.