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Proposal For Extending The Kindergarten Day

Currently the Floral Park-Bellerose UFSD offers a staggered, half-day program for kindergarten instruction. Each session contains approximately two hours and 45 minutes of student instructional time.

There have been perennial concerns in the community and with the teaching staff that the amount of time afforded to students is inadequate to fully meet instructional goals and provide a strong foundation for succeeding years. The implementation of Common Core Standards and new reading and mathematics programs has exacerbated this concern.

Several years ago, the Floral Park district did a feasibility study of creating a full-day kindergarten program. At that time fiscal and facility issues were identified that precluded a full-day program. Fiscally, other programs would have to be eliminated to fund an all-day kindergarten and the enrollment at that time required additional rooms that were not available.

Although the fiscal constraints have become even more onerous (tax levy cap)—with declining enrollment a review of facilities shows that the district would be able to add the necessary rooms at a negligible expense.

Since, within current tax levy caps, the district cannot absorb the additional cost of the increased staffing necessary for an all-day Kindergarten program (roughly $400,000) the district proposes to expand the kindergarten day by an additional 1.5 hours and when the fiscal climate is more favorable revisit an all-day program.

What would an extended day kindergarten require?

An extended-day program is no longer staggered. All kindergarten students would arrive to their school at the same time in the morning. Four hours and 15 minutes later they would all be dismissed from their school at the same time.

Curriculum and Materials

The district would need to review current curriculum and materials. It is likely that the district will have little problem expanding existing resources to ensure meaningful instruction.

Schedule

Working with the staff, the district will create a new schedule for the class. If necessary, the district plans to link up with other districts that are using a similar model.

Transportation

The district will actually be reducing transportation needs as the midday arrival and dismissal are eliminated. Capacity of morning runs will have to be reviewed and the timing for the new afternoon dismissal run will have to be coordinated with the other district bus responsibilities.

Enrollment/Class size

Projected enrollment right now for next year is approximately 135 students in both buildings. Depending on distribution of students, the district anticipates three classes at JLC and four classes at FPBS, for a total of seven classes.

Staffing

It is anticipated that this change will create seven part-time positions at a .7 full time equivalent. These positions will be posted and filled according to current contract, law and regulation. Additional staffing changes may result depending on who applies for the extended-day program.

(Editor’s note: This is a proposal for the extension of the kindergarten day in the Floral Park School District. A decision will be made by the school board at a later date.)

News

County sponsors Narcan training at high school

Long Island communities are waging a war against prescription drug abuse and a rampant heroin epidemic. The county launched a free public training program in 2012 to teach ordinary citizens the signs of an overdose and how to reverse its effects using a drug called Narcan.

Garden City High School hosted one of these training events on Oct. 9 as a packed auditorium of parents and community members gathered to learn the skills needed to potentially save a life. Floral Park will host the event in December.

Despite the national media attention about Ebola in recent weeks, there is one virus that is actually affecting Long Islanders, Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68), with one of the first cases identified in North Hempstead on Sept. 18 and a recent case on Oct. 15 in Suffolk County, which school officials called for the closing of school, as a health precaution.

Dr. Charles Schleien, chairman of the department of pediatrics at Cohen Children’s Medical Center, said that although the enterovirus is still active, cases are dwindling on Long Island. According to Schleien, approximately 500 cases have been reported this season of enterovirus, at Cohen’s Children Medical Center, with two to six patients being admitted per day.


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