Valley View Kicks Off New All-Day Kindergarten
The new program has been a goal of Supt. James Mitchem, who has been pushing for it since last year.
All-day kindergarten classes will make their debut at all 12 Valley View School District 365U elementary schools Wednesday.
More than 1,000 children will enter newly-created classrooms at 9:05 a.m. and stay until 3:15 p.m.
See photos from Pioneer Elementary School's kindergarten preview to the right.
Since last year, Supt. James Mitchem has been leading the charge to implement full-day kindergarten, with the aim of targeting students while they are in the lower grades to avoid the need for intervention later.
Mitchem has cited studies that link full-day kindergarten to increases in student achievement, including data showing that 85 percent of pupils who participated in an all-day kindergarten program completed school without the need for remediation.
Valley View's first all-day kindergarten class will set the benchmark for future student achievement, Mitchem said.
"They will indicate we are achieving the same levels as the highest-performing districts, despite our demographics," he said.
Mitchem has said that by the time the 2012-2013 kindergarten class reaches third grade, it will be in a "signficantly different place" than VVSD's current third grade classes.
Support and opposition
Last summer, 85 percent of parents who completed a district survey were in favor of bringing an all-day program to Valley View, though the prospect of a monthly fee for the program and the decision to lay off teachers and staff were met with opposition.
The district has instead charged parents a one-time fee for the kindergarten program.
In April, the school board passed a proposal that contained layoffs initially affecting about 500 staffers, including first- through fourth-year teachers. The board also approved cutting first- through fifth-year support staff.
All but five teachers and 33 aides were recalled, according to the Bolingbrook Bugle. These individuals will have the opportunity to be called back if a position opens during the school year.
Additions, renovations for the program
To make room for the new program, VVSD put additions on nine schools and renovated facilities in three others. Kindergarten students will be housed in new additions at Independence, Salk and Wood View schools and in remodeled facilities at Oak View, Ward, King, Skoff, McGee, Tibbott, Hermansen, Pioneer and Hill.
Older students will move from existing classrooms to new additions at Oak View, Ward, King, Skoff, McGee, Tibbott, Hermansen, Pioneer and Hill.
The VVSD school board approved a $12.3 million contract for the work in April.
READ MORE ON PATCH:
- Mitchem Says Valley View Needs All-Day Kindergarten
- Survey: Parents Love the Idea of All-Day Kindergarten, But Not the Cost
- VVSD Explores Costs of All-Day Kindergarten
- VVSD Hires All-Day Kindergarten Architect, Signs off on Improvement Projects
- All-Day Kindergarten Construction Projects to Begin; RHS Gets New Boiler System