Full Day Kindergarten On the School Board Agenda Again

By Alex Malm

The School Board received an update regarding full day kindergarten from the Kindergarten Committee during their Jan. 17 meeting.
Superintendent, Dan Black, said over the summer they had about a 70 page powerpoint when they made a presentation looking for support to begin the Kindergarten Committee. He said they have been working to condense the information.
The committee explained the main focus over the past few months has been on soliciting feedback from the community. Information was attained by setting up a table at the Senior Expo on Oct. 16, presenting at the C3 Committee on Oct. 27 and having a table set up at the “Crafts Fair” in November at Londonderry High School.
One of the major questions that has been brought up, the committee members said, is in regards to the financing.
Black explained that when they opened up Moose Hill about two decades ago full day kindergarten wasn’t considered necessary. However, he said research has shown that full day kindergarten has a lot of benefits to it.
In their presentation to the School Board the Committee pointed out that research shows that having all day kindergarten can “maximize the brain’s growth and development to build the critical foundations children need for later learning.”
It would also help them “close achievement gaps in literacy, math, and social and emotional skills that can be identified as early as kindergarten and first grade,” and “ensure that children have what they need, including becoming proficient readers, to continue to be successful as they move into the later elementary and middle school grades.”
During the meeting, it was also pointed out that full-day kindergarten isn’t required in the state of New Hampshire, although many communities offer it.
The committee told the School Board that next steps include releasing the frequently asked questions document to the community, and going back in front of the School Board on Feb. 24 to share the overall feedback that they have received.
“I think we’ll be ready by the end of the week,” said Black.
They also hope to develop a Phase I and Phase II plan for Moose Hill and present it by the Spring.
In terms of the financial aspects of it, Black said it is too early to tell at this point.
“Right now it’s too much of a guess,” said Black.
It is expected later this Spring that the committee would recommend to the School Board whether or not they should move forward with a Phase I and II “Bond approach” and put it on the ballot next March.
“We’re obviously many steps and many decisions away from that,” said Black.

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