Verndale to continue all-day, everyday kindergarten

All-day, everyday kindergarten, with optional Wednesdays, will continue at Verndale. At Mondays regular meeting, the Verndale School Board passed a motion to keep the program with optional Wednesdays. The all-day, everyday kindergarten program be...

All-day, everyday kindergarten, with optional Wednesdays, will continue at Verndale.

At Mondays regular meeting, the Verndale School Board passed a motion to keep the program with optional Wednesdays.

The all-day, everyday kindergarten program began at Verndale last fall. In the program, parents can choose to keep their children home on Wednesdays without the children falling behind on school work. On Wednesdays, the kindergarten teachers review information in a new way, but dont teach new information. At the school board meeting Monday, the board reviewed a survey and listened to members of the public to see if there was interest in keeping the program as it is.

According to the survey, which was completed by parents who have kids in the all-day, every-day kindergarten, 28 parents liked the program, none didnt like it and one didnt answer the question. Parents split on whether Wednesday should be an optional day for the kindergartners. Fourteen parents said yes, 14 said no, and one said doesnt matter.

Currently, about four kindergartners parents choose to keep their children home Wednesdays and the rest of the kindergartners attend every day.


Dixie Hosmer, a kindergarten teacher at Verndale, said with everyday, all-day kindergarten, she has seen the kids become more comfortable with each other and have advanced to the point that they feel they can learn without her.

A question was raised from a member of the public of whether kids become too tired after being in kindergarten all day. One answer on the survey was My daughter comes home very tired. I feel that may be affecting her learning.

Hosmer said she hasnt seen the full days as a hardship for the students. She makes sure the students have time to sleep. She teaches academics in the morning, followed by learning through play.

School board members asked Hosmer if she saw a downside to having optional Wednesdays.

The only disadvantage she saw was a student who used to stay home on Wednesdays the first part of the year is now having attendance problems.

Marcus Edin, school board chairman, would like to give parents the option of sending their children Wednesdays.

In unrelated business, the board approved hiring a full-time Spanish teacher who would teach elementary and high school Spanish. Currently, some Verndale students learn Spanish through a teacher in the classroom, and some learn via interactive television.

Some school board members stated the benefits in teaching Spanish to elementary kids.


Kids learn it so easy at a little age, said Naomi Moyer, school board member.

Edin said teaching Spanish in the elementary causes more kids to be interested in it when they reach high school.

At a previous board meeting, the board tabled the decision to hire a full-time Spanish teacher because of budget issues. Decreased funding for special education is affecting the entire budget, and Superintendent Jim Madsen recommended not creating additional expenses in the budget. Decreased state special education funding could mean the school would have to pay an additional $97,000 in 2005-06 school year and about $100,000 in the 2006-07 school year. Later, a financial meeting took place. The finance committee recommended the resolution for a full-time Spanish teacher. Suggested budget cuts for this year were saving $23,165 by hiring a less experienced English teacher after an English teacher retires, generating $6,000 by raising ticket admissions, saving $60,000 in bus purchasing expenses, saving $10,000 on supplies/requisitions and saving $10,000 on buildings/grounds.

In other business, the board:

" Listened to about nine people speak on the behalf of Adam Halpaus, who is up for tenure. Music Boosters created an informational sheet regarding the quality and participation in the band. According the sheet, the concert band received three superiors rankings each year of Halpaus three years as its director.

The sheet also says in the 2002-03 school year, the year before Halpaus conducted band, 81 kids were in band. In the 2005-06 school year, the third year of Halpaus direction, the number increased to 119 kids. Halpaus has demonstrated his ability to be great, said Brian Roth of the Music Boosters. Rhonda Kern, a parent, said her daughter loves band.

" Approved a memorandum of understanding regarding the $10,381.56 from Blue Cross. The money is the districts share from a tobacco settlement. The memo states a wellness committee will be created to decide how the money should be spent.

"Listened to the principals report. Band and choir students took a trip to Florida March 24-30. The school play be at 8 p.m. April 21 and 22 in the Ted Masog Auditorium. The elementary music program will be at 1:30 p.m. April 21 in the Ted Masog Auditorium.


" Approved summer recreation positions. Greg Johnson will be the director. Collin Cottrell, Maria Moenkedick and Nathan Runyan will be the assistant directors.

" Closed the meeting to review the applications for the superintendent position.

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