In preparation for a town hall meeting set for later this month to discuss a Full Day Kindergarten program in the Summit School District, the Board of Education will conduct a planning session Friday afternoon at 3:30 p.m.
The planning session will be held in the Wilson School Board Meeting Room on Jan. 11. While no formal action will be taken, the purpose of the session will be for school officials to discuss the agenda for the Jan. 23 public town hall meeting at the Jefferson Primary Center, 110 Ashwood Ave.
The entire duration of the Jan. 23 meeting, which will take place from 6:30 to 9 p.m., is reserved to discuss Full Day Kindergarten in Summit.
A panel discussion will take place to educate the Summit community on the impact of Full Day Kindergarten on the students and the town.
In late November of 2011, a committee that was formed to determine the potential costs and benefits of implementing a tuition-based, full-day kindergarten pilot program decided to scrap plans for the proposed program. Initially, it was proposed that each Primary Center would have one full-day kindergarten class consisting of 20 students, with a tuition charge in the range of $7,500 - $9,000 for each student. Instead, the committee opted to begin examining the feasibility of a less expensive tuition rate and look into creating a free, all-day program for all kindergarten students, according to a letter posted on Summit Patch by Superintendent of Schools Nathan Parker on Nov. 30, 2011.
The panel scheduled to appear during the Jan. 23 town hall meeting will present the educational, societal and community benefits of a FDK program, the financial and operational costs to Summit, the district’s facilities plan, and where FDK fits into the Board of Education’s priorities and goals, according to school officials. Additionally, early childhood education consultant, Kathie Priestly, will share an overview of FDK from a national perspective.
In addition to Priestly, panelists include Parker, School Board Member Celia Colbert, Business Administrator Louis Pepe and Felix Gill, the principal of the Primary Center.
Following the panel discussion, there will be an hour-long question and answer session. Refreshments will be served.