SDE approves 78 new full-day kindergarten literacy readiness programs

By Gary Mitchell

Three Clovis area schools will receive state funding for full-day kindergarten programs for the academic year 2003-2004.
Barry Elementary, Highland Elementary and Ranchvale Elementary schools are among 78 new full-day kindergarten programs within 33 school districts that have been approved by the State Department of Education.
Those three schools join seven other Clovis elementary schools that have previously received state funding for full-day kindergartens. Those schools include: Bella Vista, Cameo, James Bickley, La Casita, Lincoln-Jackson Arts Academy, Lockwood and Parkview, according to Clovis school superintendent Neil Nuttall.
“It’s going to leave Zia Elementary and Mesa Elementary without funding for full-day kindergarten programs, but we do offer a full-day kindergarten at those schools at a minimal cost to parents,” he said. “We also offer a full-day kindergarten program at Sandia Elementary at the school district’s expense.”
Throughout the state, the State Department of Education has approved a total of 298 public schools in 68 school districts to receive funding for full-day kindergarten programs in the coming year.
Funding for the programs will come from the State Equalization Guarantee and state Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds ($4 million), according to a press release from the State Department of Education.
“This is the fourth year of the full-day kindergarten phase-in, and the results for children has been outstanding,” said Michael J. Davis, state superintendent of public instruction.
Nuttall agrees.
“Next year, the governor is committed to have all the schools in the state operating full-day kindergartens, so those parents at Zia and Mesa won’t have to pay next year,” he said.
Funded schools must include a comprehensive research-based early literacy program that continues in the first and second grades following kindergarten. The program must include professional development and assessments, with schools administering a literacy-based pretest to kindergarten students by Sept. 30 and a posttest by April 30 of each year to assess student performance, according to the press release.
Nuttall said he has gone through similar transition processes to full-day kindergarten programs in other school districts prior to coming to Clovis.
“Our experience in those other schools — as well as here — is that it makes a dramatic improvement in a student’s performance by grade 3, so we’re very thankful and excited about it,” he said.
Other area schools to receive full-day kindergarten funding included Elida Elementary School and Floyd Elementary School.