Big Walnut School District parents have the option of sending their 5-year-old children to one-half day kindergarten for free, or to the district’s fee-based full-day kindergarten — which is currently $275 a month for the full-day option.
During last Thursday’s board of education meeting, district Director of Academic Achievement Jen Young said the district is exploring a fee-reduction for the full-day kindergarten option.
“Over the next couple of years it will eventually become a free full-day kindergarten,” Young said.
Superintendent Angie Pollock said Big Walnut is trying to “stair-step” into a district-paid full-day kindergarten.
“Getting kids that strong kindergarten foundation is really important,” Pollock said.
Board member Allison Fagan asked if an all-day kindergarten is appropriate for every student.
Pollock replied that there’s more time for teaching social skills in a full-day kindergarten setting.
“We’re going to keep looking at what each kid needs,” Pollock said. “But what we don’t want is a financial barrier if a student would benefit from an all-day kindergarten.”
Following the meeting, Pollock said she was not certain what the reduced full-day kindergarten fee would be, and she did not have a timetable for district-paid full-day kindergarten.
Young also noted that during the 2016-17 school year elementary-school technology aides would become STEM teachers. STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education.
“We really want to move our technology education more into the 21st century,” Young said. “Parents ask me: If this is so important, why isn’t there a teacher? So we’re going to move that to a teacher’s position instead of a tutor’s position.”
Young said the new STEM teacher positions would join art, music and physical education as shared positions among the elementary buildings until enrollment justifies have a full-time STEM teacher in each building.
Reporter Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093