YORKTOWN, N.Y. -- The prospect of full-day kindergarten at the Yorktown School District has many potential positives.
On Wednesday, Yorktown Schools Superintendent Ralph Napolitano hosted an informational session for parents about what full-day kindergarten would mean to the district at Mildred Strang Middle School.
New York is one of six states that does not require full- day kindergarten. Yorktown and Katonah-Lewisboro are the only school districts in Westchester that do not offer it. Katonah-Lewisboro is considering implementing full-day kindergarten next year.
Yorktown had previously considered full-day kindergarten in 2006, but the idea gained little traction in the community.
"There is room within Yorktown Central School District to house a full-day kindergarten program now," Napolitano said.
Full-day kindergarten should have little impact on Yorktown's budget, Napolitano said. He said the 2014-2015 budget will be below the tax cap and the tax rate will be lower than last year's budget.
The district has enlisted Dr. Paul Seversky, demographer, to study future enrollment & capacity needs. The district also contracted Zogby Analytics to perform a representative community survey.
Full-day kindergarten is expected to be approved next month as part of the district's budget process.
Dr. Napolitano said they do not need a a separate bond or community vote or to re-open the shuttered French Hill Elementary School.
"This will not impact any other Yorktown School District programs," Napolitano said.
Napolitano said full-day kindergarten would benefit students by providing more time for academic work and applied learning. Napolitano said it would benefit teachers who are trying to “catch up” with districts that offer full day kindergarten.
He said it would also benefit the Yorktown community as a whole.
"We would be offering a primary educational experience that is comparable to other local school districts," Napolitano said.
In the current half day kindergarten, Napolitano said standards are not easily met and there is less of an opportunity to meet state thresholds.
"Standards will be better met in full day time allotment," Napolitano said. "This will create additional opportunities to deepen learning in ELA, social studies, math, science and “whole child” learning."
Another community forum will be held Wednesday, Feb. 12 at 7 p.m. at Yorktown High School with board of education meetings on Monday, Feb. 10 and Monday, Feb. 24.
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