Friday, January 7, 2000
Kindergarten structure is under study
The kindergarten task force is beginning to explore the structure of the current kindergarten program in order to determine whether adding additional time would enable teachers to enhance the experience for every child. The current schedule offers a half-day program in the fall and two full days in the spring.
According to assistant principal Terry Farwell, the task force has already collected data from kindergartens of 18 surrounding communities. Only three of the 18 schools have a full-day program. In two of the three schools, the full-day program is optional with an extra charge. (Acton charges $225 a month and Arlington charges $1,200 a year). Six schools offer a half-day program only for all students (Sudbury, Boxborough, Chelmsford, Lancaster, Harvard and Hollis, NH,). The others (Westford, Lincoln, Winchester, Weston, Andover, Concord, Newton, Lexington and Sherborn) are either exploring the option of adding additional hours to the children's schedule or already have added more time to the weekly schedule. The age cut-off for most of the schools is September, August or October. Class size ranges from 15 in Winchester to 25 in Chelmsford.
Farwell plans to send out a survey on this topic to the school parent community and future kindergarten parents with the hope that the information will be returned by January 14. The task force will reconvene on January 25 at 7 p.m.
State special-ed enrollment
Superintendent Davida Fox-Melanson summarized an article by Robert Keough saying that for the first time, Massachusetts does not lead the 50 states in special education enrollment. Keough concludes in the article that this shift is not due to a reduction of special-ed students getting help in Massachusetts but to the fact that other states are steadily offering more services to an increasing portion of their students.
Rhode Island with 11.21 percent in special-ed programs, takes over the number one spot. Massachusetts is second with10.88 percent and West Virginia, Maine and New Jersey follow close behind with special-ed enrollments over 10 percent. The national average is 8.11 percent. Federal school officials believe that the continuing growth in special-ed enrollment is coming from earlier identification of children with disabilities as well as a rise in the number of children with more severe disabilities.
Fox-Melanson commented on the success of the math league, the wonderful band and choral presentation with its overflow attendance and the basketball team roster of 27 students.
The superintendent said she hoped to align next year's Carlisle School calendar with the Concord-Carlisle High School schedule of events. She concurred with the regional school committee representatives Cindy Nock and Harry Crowther that an effort should be made to do this earlier in the year.
CSC voted unanimously to approve the Crisis Management Plan that they wish to use as the basis for the development of more detailed crisis response procedures.
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