All-day kindergarten coming to Mackrille this fall
All-day kindergarten coming to Mackrille this fall
Posted on 07/22/2015
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WEST HAVEN, July 21, 2015 — All-day kindergarten classes will be in place at all six West Haven Public School District elementary schools this fall, thanks to an additional $500,000 in state funding, Mayor Edward M. O’Brien and Superintendent of Schools Neil C. Cavallaro announced today.

The $500,000 was included in the new fiscal year’s allocation of the Alliance District grant, which West Haven has been receiving for the past three years and targets school improvement. It complements a $1 million grant the city obtained from the state Bond Commission in November to make one-time expenditures of supplies and classroom renovations for a full-day kindergarten expansion.

During its regular meeting Monday night, the Board of Education unanimously approved this year’s Alliance District grant plan, which includes districtwide all-day kindergarten.

School district administrators and O’Brien have been working together to implement full-day kindergarten in all city elementary schools, as it has been a longtime goal of the district and a high-priority focus of O’Brien since he took office.

Both grants were initiated by O’Brien in a collaborative effort with the school board and were made possible by the state Department of Education and state Sen. Gayle Slossberg, D-Milford, chairwoman of the General Assembly’s Education Committee.

“Implementing districtwide all-day kindergarten was the cornerstone of my campaign for mayor in 2013 and has been one of my top priorities since taking office,” O’Brien said.

“I am elated that in just under two years, my administration, together with our state legislators and the Board of Education, has successfully worked to institute and sustain full-day kindergarten in West Haven. I am grateful to Senator Slossberg and the rest of our General Assembly delegation for realizing this vital funding for the many hardworking families of our great city.”

Financial constraints have prevented the program from launching in all six elementary schools at once, and the district has been targeting a multiyear rollout to gradually add the expense into the budget. As part of that plan, all-day kindergarten classes started this year at Forest Elementary School and Savin Rock Community School. The program was phased in responsibly, in a way that balanced the various needs of the city, Cavallaro said.

With the $500,000 in new funding and the $1 million grant received by the city last fall, the program will now expand to schools that still have half-day kindergarten classes: Washington Elementary School, Edith E. Mackrille Elementary School, Alma E. Pagels Elementary School and Seth G. Haley Elementary School.

Cavallaro said he was grateful that the state has provided the additional money and that West Haven can now be on a more level playing field with districts that already have full-day kindergarten classes. Most districts in the state follow such a schedule.

“We’re thrilled to have received the funding, as well as support from our Board of Education, and to soon offer all West Haven children the opportunity to attend full-day kindergarten in our district. Since not all of our students attend preschool, an all-day kindergarten program is needed to give them a more solid foundation in literacy and numeracy through additional classroom time and to help them further develop social and emotional skills through extra time with their peers,” Cavallaro said.

“We’re very pleased with what we’ve seen in our two schools that started full-day kindergarten this year and are confident that expanding the program will make a significant impact on all of our schools.”

Stefania Izzo, the school district’s early childhood coordinator, presented the Board of Education with an update of this year’s all-day kindergarten programs at Savin Rock and Forest, saying students in the full-day programs saw more significant gains in their skill levels than peers at three other district elementary schools.

The extra instructional time benefits students because they have more opportunities to connect with the curriculum, and it gives support staff more time to address any learning difficulties students may have. The additional early intervention efforts may result in those students needing fewer services later in their academic careers.

Upon completion of kindergarten, youngsters are expected to be able to count to 100, read a short book with two to three sentences per page, answer comprehension questions, and successfully complete other tasks that were not part of kindergarten curriculums years ago.

School officials have been preparing with regard to staffing, supplies and equipment to ensure the program is ready for the newest group of kindergartners as soon as the 2015-16 academic year begins.
All-day kindergarten will commence Aug. 27, which is the first day of classes for the district and a full day of school.


Contact: Communications Director Susan Misur, 203-937-4300 X7114; susan.misur@whschools.org