But what about the kindergartners?

North Rockland talks half day vs. full day K

BY MARIA BROWNSELL

20140701_195916_resizedThe Board of Education meeting on July 1 in North Rockland was a very busy occasion. There was a reorganization meeting, a special presentation, public comments and more.

During public comments/questions, Evie Davis of Thiells asked whether the district can ever get full-day kindergarten like most of the county, state and country already has. This is an ongoing issue that she brought up at the May 6 meeting also.

North Rockland is one of three districts in Rockland County that does not have full day kindergarten, along with Pearl River and East Ramapo. With today’s Common Core standards and a short two and a half hour day, the students are only exposed to math and reading in order to prepare them for the testing ahead. They receive no education in social studies, science, art, music, or gym, while 76 percent of children in the nation receive full day kindergarten, explained Davis.

Davis concern regarding the issue is heightened because she has 4-year-old twin grandchildren who will be entering kindergarten in North Rockland in 2015, but says her passion would be unchanged if the situation were any different. “It struck me that it is not possible to believe you live in the proverbial ‘good school district’ when children start their education at such a disadvantage,” said Davis.

Superintendent Eckert discussed the matter with Davis in April and promised to investigate the costs of full day kindergarten, if they had the space available in the schools, and how much money would be reimbursed by the state for converting to fulltime. None of those answers have been received as of yet.

Jared Davis, the father of the twins, also spoke about how he feels he needs to send his girls to a full day private kindergarten in order to keep them from being disadvantaged as compared to students in other districts, but doesn’t know that he can afford it.

Annemarie Shovlin, a parent and educator, is concerned that the half day kindergarten is not meeting the needs of the children, especially in light of the new Common Core standards.

“Our children need more quality time kindergarten in a full day,” Shovlin said. She also explained how evidence shows that students who start off with full day kindergarten are less likely to be held back grades, learn more, and have less need for special education services.

After the three spoke their piece about kindergarten, the board thanked them and moved on to the next agenda item. No responses or answers were given. Davis is still waiting to hear from the superintendent and plans to continue asking questions until she finally receives an answer.

The special presentation was by Team LaBier LLC, who showed the board members a slideshow and narration of their recent accomplishments. Team LaBier LLC is a business formed by a class of third graders at Stony Point Elementary, along with their teacher Jennifer LaBier. The class raised $3,000 total to be split between three different charities; Stand up to Cancer, Friends of Karen, and Team Angelica, named after a first grader in the school.

The class went to Good Morning America on June 3 to watch the show from outside. They ended up getting a lot of attention from the show. Team LaBier’s CEOs are Eddie Cigna, Jillian Fullock, and Montana Veet. Other students headed advertising, research, and many other areas of the business.

“First we sold t-shirts,” explained Cigna. “The next project was water bottles, and the next was a talent show.”

Over 300 people attended the talent show. The students have a goal of raising $10,000 next year. “We will continue to raise money and make it happen!” said LaBier.